Spent grain to fuel Spendrups
Sweden’s largest independent beverages producer, Spendrups Bryggeri, recently broke ground at its Grängesberg brewery for the company’s most dramatic climate mitigation project thus far, a draff fuelled heating plant. Once commissioned the new facility will annually replace 3 500 cubic meters of fuel oil and reduce the brewery’s carbon footprint by 80 percent per litre of beverage produced.
Over the last few years, the Swedish beverages group Spendrups has invested around SEK 1 billion (≈ EUR 110 million) in modernising and streamlining its Grängesberg brewery, in county Dalarna. Recently it broke ground for the construction of a draff fired heat plant at the brewery. Draff or brewer’s grains is the remaining residue once the liquid wort has been removed to be fermented into beer.
Estimated to be commissioned before the end of the year the draff plant is unique in Sweden and, according to Fredrick Spendrup, CEO for Spendrups Bryggeri, one of the first of its kind in the world.
– Continual improvement is a motto of ours. The draff plant enables us to substitute oil for a climate-smart and renewable process residue. It is also proof that climate footprint reduction measures can be cost effective for our production. Better win-win is near impossible to find, said Fredrik Spendrup.
The draff plant investment is about SEK 110 million (≈ EUR 12 million) and expected to replace the lion’s share of the 4 400 m3 of fuel oil currently used at the brewery. It is the latest move by the beverages group to tackle the future in a very competitive, price pressed and heavily regulated part of the food and drinks industry.
–We estimate an annual cost saving of SEK 24 million (≈ EUR 2.65 million) which gives a payback period within five years, said Fredrik Spendrup.
The Grängesberg brewery generates around 30 000 tonnes of draff per year. Rich in fibre and protein the draff has been used as pig fodder, now it is trucked to a biogas plant.
–In fact, this project has been on the table for some time; it is five or six years ago when we first began to look at it. We visited breweries in South Africa and whisky distilleries in Scotland but found that the solutions were not fully suitable for our needs, told Spendrup.
Together with a boiler supplier, a concept was drawn whereby the draff coming directly from production is dewatered, dried and pressed into pellets. These are then ground to powder and fed to a new boiler.
–We are actually a year late with the project. The reason is future emission levels for NOx. As draff contains protein NOx is combustion challenge for us. The original design with a different boiler supplier was cheaper and met today’s NOx requirements. But we wanted to be future proof against anticipated EU demands today so we went back and found another solution, he revealed.
The new plant along with biogas from the process water treatment plant will supply the baseload process heat. The oil boiler will for the time being be kept for peak and back-up.
–Our vision is to have fossil free production. We need operational experience before deciding how we phase out the last oil, concluded Fredrik Spendrup.
Founded in 1897 Spendrups Bryggeri is part of the privately held Spendrups Group which includes three regional production facilities and import operations. Annual production is about 160 million litres of beer. The company is ISO 14001 certified, has about 850 employees and SEK 3 billion (≈ EUR 331.4 million) in annual turnover.
The percentage of biodiesel used by delivery trucks in the local distribution chain, from regional distribution depots to supermarkets, restaurants and off-licenses has steadily increased over the last decade. Today around 45 percent of the fuel used in local delivery is RME which means emissions in local distribution has decreased by 20 percent per litre of supplied beverage compared to ten years ago. According to Claes Åkesson, director for environment and sustainability at Spendrups Bryggeri, the company has halved carbon dioxide emissions per litre produced beverage during the period 2004 to 2013.