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HEINEKEN France launches Project Circle

HEINEKEN France launches Project Circle
The HEINEKEN France Mons-en-Barœul brewery in Lille (photo courtesy HEINEKEN France).

HEINEKEN France, the French subsidiary of the Netherlands-headed global brewery major has announced the launch of Project Circle. This is the first global initiative of its kind, aimed at maximizing circularity within the brewery and reducing the carbon footprint of its production sites.

As part of the company’s commitment to its global sustainability goals, Project Circle focuses on revaluing brewers’ spent grain (BSG) to create a more sustainable brewing process.

BSG, the solid residue left after brewing cereals, has traditionally been viewed as waste. However, HEINEKEN France sees it as a valuable resource and an opportunity for innovation.

Through Project Circle, HEINEKEN France is pioneering new methods to upcycle BSG, reducing waste and carbon emissions in the process.

“Brew a Better World” is more than a slogan for us; it’s a guiding principle that drives our actions. By 2030, we aim to achieve net zero Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions, and by 2040, net zero across our entire value chain. Maximizing circularity within our production processes is essential to reaching these ambitious goals, and Project Circle is a step forward in that direction, said Pascal Gilet, President of HEINEKEN France.

Project Circle utilizes innovative technology to separate BSG into fibers and proteins, which are then repurposed for various applications.

Proteins are refined to over 70 percent concentration for potential food-related uses, while fibers are used to produce renewable energy.

This closed-loop system reduces waste and contributes to the decarbonization of HEINEKEN’s breweries.

First phase of implementation

The first phase of Project Circle is currently being implemented at HEINEKEN France’s brewery in Mons-en-Barœul, with full operation expected by 2025.

The Project Circle concept (graphic courtesy HEINEKEN France).

According to a preliminary third-party assessment, for the pilot site, an estimated 50 percent carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction in Scope 1 thermal energy could be achieved by replacing natural gas with renewable energy from the fibres.

HEINEKEN France’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond its operations. The company aims to equip six additional breweries with Project Circle by 2027, furthering its impact on reducing carbon emissions and promoting circularity within the brewing sector.

Project Circle is made possible through partnerships with key organizations, including the EU LIFE Programme, Duynie Feed, IDEX, and Yilkins Drying Solutions.

These collaborations are vital to the success and scalability of the project, ensuring its positive impact on both the environment and the brewing industry.

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