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Conservation of Energy & Water Usage

HomeSustainabilityConservation of Energy & Water Usage

The Group has a long-standing water & energy management and conservation programme. This programme is built on a combination of advanced usage monitoring and continuous improvement projects. Principally focused on our two primary manufacturing sites, the Group has achieved significant improvements in water and energy usage over the past five years.

Water is a key raw material in the production of both cider and beer, so the continued supply of clean water is key to the sustainability of our long-term commercial activities. C&C continues to be proactive in conserving water usage while also protecting the aquifers and sources at both manufacturing sites.

Water usage is metered and monitored on a real-time basis at all facilities, with numerous conservation and re-use projects delivered. In Clonmel, equipment rinse time optimisation, a new canning pasteuriser programme and reduction in RO water usage will reduce water usage by 14 million litres, which is 2.3% of annual usage. At Wellpark Brewery, redundant tanks have been converted to water storage tanks, which are now storing hot liquor from the brewing process which is then recycled for use, reducing annual water usage by 24.3 million litres, a 3% reduction versus FY2018 total usage.

In FY2019, total water usage for the Group improved by 2.8% to 3 hectolitres of water per hectolitre (hl/hl) of product produced, which is significantly better than the average of the large global brewers at 3.3.

As part of our groundwater protection programme, the Clonmel site commenced a 3-year programme in 2018 to upgrade the site drainage and wastewater network. This programme will ensure our operations continue to achieve the best environmental performance standards and protect the water sources of the surrounding Tipperary countryside.

Both the Clonmel and Wellpark sites continue to be accredited to ISO14001, which is the international standard which specifies the requirements for an effective environmental management system.

In Q1 of FY2020, Wellpark Brewery will commission a state of the art wastewater treatment facility utilising Anaerobic Digestion technology at a cost of €4.5 million. This development will reduce the loading of wastewater emitted from the site by 80%. We are working closely with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency on this project, as the onsite treatment will increase the quality of the wastewater discharges to the municipal plant and have associated environmental benefits through not requiring further treatment.

Water conservation and protection of groundwater sources will continue to a strategic focus of C&C operations, with a 3-year target to achieve a water usage below 2.5 hectolitres of water per hectolitre; a further reduction of at least 17%.

Wellpark Brewery

At Wellpark Brewery, electricity usage per hectolitre produced has improved by 15% over a five year period. Over the same period, total electricity usage has reduced 4%, despite production volumes increasing by 18%. Similarly, total gas usage per hectolitre produced has improved by 9% over that five years. Key components of the improvements have been through:

  • the optimisation of our chilling systems;
  • canning pasteuriser temperature control upgrades; and
  • efficiency improvements in the operation of the natural gas boilers.

Clonmel Cider Facility

At Clonmel, electricity and gas usage per hectolitre produced have improved by 3% and 1% respectively, over the past five years. This has been over a period of significant operational change at the facility, during which a new brewery & plastic bottle packaging line have been added. FY2019 saw an overall increase in energy usage at the site due to increased volume output. But a key initiative has been the installation of the “Clarity” energy monitoring system in partnership with Carbon Crowley, which provides the ability to find, measure and verify any energy savings on the site. Energy conservation is a key part of the lean manufacturing programme which is in its second year of running. Additionally all electricity consumed at Clonmel site is derived wholly from renewable energy sources.

Vermont Cidery

At our cidery in Vermont, USA, the Group supports “cow power” which means that we pay a premium on electricity consumed with the premium used to help local dairy farmers install methane digesters turning their manure into power. We also use a “solar orchard” which is a 26 array solar project providing sustainable electricity and revenue diversification for local farmers.

FY2020 and Beyond

The Group is undertaking a number of new projects to continue to reduce water & energy usage.

As part of the installation of an Anaerobic Digestion plant at Wellpark Brewery, biogas will be generated for re-use at the site. This biogas will reduce the natural gas currently imported from the national grid by between 5% and 7%. Biogas production and usage is already in place at the Clonmel manufacturing facility.

In addition, an evaluation for the use of a “Ground Source Heat Pump System” at Wellpark Brewery is underway. This system would have the potential to reduce carbon emissions at the site by up to 20%. The brewing process requires extensive heating and cooling applications, but not simultaneously. Rather than dissipating waste heat to the atmosphere, this project would propose to use the ground as a heat store for re-use when required.

During the course of calendar year 2019, a CO2 recovery system will be installed at Wellpark Brewery, similar to that already in place at the Clonmel site. As well as ensuring security of supply of a key raw material, this installation will capture the 4,200 tonnes of CO2 gas annually, which is currently being dissipated to atmosphere from fermentations.