SA Breweries looks to cow dung to power beer production amid load shedding

Business Insider SA
SA Breweries load shedding
Bio2Watt Biogas Plant (Image supplied)
  • South African Breweries is on a mission to draw all its energy from renewable sources by 2025.
  • It’s already started with solar power projects at all its brewing facilities.
  • A new power purchase agreement with a waste-to-energy company will draw electricity from the manure of 7,000 cows.
  • The Cape Dairy Biogas Project, located on a farm outside Malmesbury, is still under construction.
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South African Breweries (SAB) will start buying electricity from a waste-to-energy company that gets its power from the manure of more than 7,000 cows.

SAB wants to draw 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025. This target, set by holding company Anheuser-Busch InBev’s global sustainability programme, is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 25% across the entire value chain.

The swift shift towards renewable energy also makes SAB less reliant on Eskom’s generation, which still struggles to meet demand, resulting in disruptive bouts of load shedding.

A solar power system at SAB’s Chamdor Brewery in Krugersdorp was the first project to come online. Since then, all of SAB’s breweries across South Africa have been equipped with solar panels, generating more than 9.7GWh of renewable electricity in the first eight months of 2021.

The Alrode brewery in Johannesburg also makes use of biogas facilities. This source of renewable energy is due to be expanded through a recently signed Power Purchase Agreement with industrial scale biogas waste-to-energy company, Bio2Watt.

Bio2Watt’s Bronkhorstspruit Biogas Plant, with a capacity of 4.6MW, has been supplying BMW’s Rosslyn production plant with electricity for more than five years.

Its Cape Dairy Biogas Project, located on a farm outside Malmesbury in the Western Cape, is still under construction.

Once complete, the biogas project will have a capacity of 4.7MW, supplying SAB with renewable energy generated from the manure of more than 7,000 cows and waste from surrounding farms. These cows’ primary purpose has been supplying milk to Clover.

“Under this power purchase agreement and installed renewable electricity, SAB will achieve 23% contracted renewable electricity,” said Conor Ruff, the VP of procurement and sustainability in Africa, in a statement on Thursday.

“As we accelerate our sustainability strategy, we are looking forward to collaborating with more partners in the renewable energy space.”

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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