Protium and Budweiser Brewing Group begin plans for hydrogen energy project at Samlesbury brewery
– Partnership with Protium aims to support ambition to decarbonise Samlesbury Brewery, saving up to 11,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually
– Samlesbury Net Zero, a green hydrogen production facility is planned to be operational by 2025
– When operational, the ‘Samlesbury Net Zero’ project would lead to cleaner air and less vehicle noise for residents as the brewery aspires to start deploying hydrogen-ready vehicles
– Protium is inviting the local community to have its say and will engage with schools and businesses on education and upskilling opportunities
Lancashire’s biggest brewery in partnership with Protium, today announces plans to cut its carbon emissions by developing a green hydrogen energy production facility at the site. The project supports the region’s wider net zero ambitions. South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council both have an ambition for their own operations and activities to be carbon neutral by 2030, and the UK is working towards a 2050 net zero target.
The Samlesbury Net Zero project coupled with other initiatives aims to help Budweiser Brewing Group’s iconic Samlesbury brewery, which has been in operation for over 50 years, meet its thermal demand, heating and transport needs through green hydrogen energy.
As well as reducing the brewery’s carbon emissions, it will lead to cleaner air and reduced vehicle noise with heavy goods vehicles also being powered by hydrogen.
Made possible by a partnership with leading UK green hydrogen energy services company Protium, the Samlesbury Net Zero project, when operational, will save up to 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. This is equivalent to taking 5,800 cars off the road, offsetting the emissions of 11,156 London to New York return flights, or planting 440,000 trees.
The new facility would be built next to the brewery, which lies just off the A59 between Preston and Blackburn. The facility (the electrolyser, associated plant and refuelling station) would cover an area similar in size to one and a half full-size football pitches.
Under the plans, Protium would fund, build, and operate the site for the brewery and is targeting the end of 2025 for it to be operational. A planning application for the project will be submitted in the coming spring following consultation with neighbours, the community, and other local stakeholders.
Projects like this play an important role in meeting the UK Government’s net zero targets, in particular the green hydrogen target of 5GW by 2030.
Minister for Investment Lord Johnson said: “This government is committed to maximising the opportunities a shift to net-zero can bring to the UK, something that’s been echoed in the British Energy Security Strategy.
“Announcements like this promote the Strategy, such as its target to support over 450,000 clean jobs by the end of the decade. I look forward to working with companies like Budweiser and Protium to work towards a cleaner, greener future.”
Luiz Brandao, Head of Procurement and Sustainability at Budweiser Brewing Group, said: “Sustainability is core to our business at Budweiser Brewing Group as we work towards net zero ambitions. Innovative solutions like hydrogen have huge potential for reducing our carbon footprint in the UK and moving us towards our ambitious sustainability goals.”
As part of the project, Budweiser Brewing Group would also make the change to hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles which have the potential to improve local air quality and reduce vehicle noise.
Chris Jackson, CEO of Protium, added: “Samlesbury Net Zero is an investment in our environment, community, economy and our future. We’re thrilled to announce our intentions to deliver this major investment into green hydrogen energy in Lancashire.
“Working with the local community will be at the heart of this project. We want to use the local supply chain where possible and engage with the education and business communities to provide upskilling opportunities for the region in green hydrogen energy production.”
Chris added: “Removing carbon emissions from sectors like manufacturing is one of the biggest challenges we face in reaching net zero. Green hydrogen is the hugely exciting next step in global energy transition, happening right here in Lancashire, to drive down these emissions and futureproof our vital industries.
“This is a great opportunity for Samlesbury, South Ribble and Lancashire to take a lead in tackling the climate challenges facing us all.”
Samlesbury brewery produced its first beer in March 1972. It now employs around 350 staff and has the capacity to brew 295 million pints per year, making some of the nation’s most recognised beers including Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona. The brewery site celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022.
Globally, AB InBev has ambitious sustainability goals which include 100% of its electricity coming from renewable sources and achieve net zero across its value chain by 2040. It has also removed all plastic rings from its beers and decreased its use of plastic shrink wrapping, removing 850 tonnes of plastic waste from its supply chain.
Protium plans to hold a series of consultation events with the community over the coming weeks and has created a dedicated website with key dates and information at www.samlesburynetzero.co.uk.
How would the green hydrogen production facility at Samlesbury work?
Green hydrogen is created through a process called electrolysis, where electricity from renewable sources is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. There are no carbon emissions released during the production of green hydrogen.
The project at Samlesbury, which has been named ‘Samlesbury Net Zero’, would see a state-of-the-art green hydrogen production facility (HPF) constructed right next door to the existing brewery site.
Once produced, the hydrogen would be fed directly to hydrogen-ready boilers allowing the brewery to meet the thermal demand of its brewing processes, as well as it’s other heating requirements.
It would also supply a hydrogen refuelling station for use by hydrogen-ready heavy goods vehicles. These fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) only emit water vapour while filtering particulate out of the air as they move. The heat from the HPF will also be recovered and used in Budweiser’s bottling process.
It will be Protium’s third HPF in the UK and second with Budweiser Brewing Group. Last year, Protium announced its first HPF in partnership with Budweiser Brewing Group at its Magor brewery in South Wales. It is also working on pioneering green hydrogen projects with businesses in other sectors where it has been previously difficult to reduce carbon emissions.
The build and operational costs of the project at Samlesbury will be met by Protium, with the brewery entering a long-term green Hydrogen Energy Services Contract (HESCO™) with Protium.
What is net zero and how will green hydrogen support the UK’s climate aims?
Net zero refers to the balancing of greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, that are produced by human activity and contribute to climate change. It is the point at which these greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere have been completely balanced by efforts to reduce and remove them.
AB InBev aims to achieve net zero across its value chain by 2040, and the government has set a target for the UK as a nation to get to net zero by 2050. AB InBev’s 2022 ESG report is available here.