GEA supplies Heineken UK with heat pump

GEA is supplying Heineken UK with a low carbon heat network for its Manchester brewery as the brewer makes further moves to realise its global ambition to reach net zero across its production sites (scopes 1 and 2) by 2030.

The Manchester brewery produces about 400 million litres of Heineken, Birra Moretti and Foster’s beer per year.

GEA supplies Heineken UK with heat pump

The high-pressure ammonia reciprocating compressor, GEA Grasso V XHP, is central part of the GEA heat pump system at the HEINEKEN UK brewery. Source: GEA

The Manchester brewery’s decarbonisation journey starts with the installation of heat pumps and a heat pump network capturing and reusing heat to brew and package beer.

GEA will design, supply and install the low carbon heat network to the existing plant and will also modify the legacy process equipment. Currently, steam is produced in large steam boilers powered by natural gas. With the new system, Heineken UK will use a low temperature (90oC) hot water network – driven by GEA heat pumps – replacing the steam boilers with environmentally friendly heat pumps powered by electricity. GEA’s heat pump solution operates on an environmentally friendly ammonia refrigerant with zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and zero global warming potential (GWP). Distribution and recovery pipe work make up the foundation of the network, which will absorb the heat from multiple processes.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024. Once completed, Heineken UK estimates that the installation will result in a 45 per cent decrease in gas use, leading to a reduction of carbon emissions.

“We want to brew a better world and we need to act now if we are going to meet our 2030 net zero ambitions. Heat pumps are a key technology on our journey to decarbonising our breweries and enable us to create a circular process with the excess heat that is created during the brewing process. As GEA brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to the project as well as some well-engineered technical solutions, we appointed GEA – after a thorough tender process – to support us in decarbonising our Manchester site,” says Chelsey Wroe, head of sustainability at Heineken UK.

In this project, GEA combined its heat pump technology with its substantial experience in the brewing process industry. “Our ability to deliver a design, which recognised the complex and diverse energy demands of a large scale 24/7 brewing operation made the difference,” John Burden director project sales at GEA’s heating & refrigeration technologies division explains.

Matthew Hadwen, sales manager brewery at GEA’s liquid & powder technologies division, who lead the project, adds: “Being able to do it all in-house makes us a more reliable partner to HEINEKEN, who are truly serious about their sustainability goals. Hopefully this approach will encourage other companies to follow their example.”

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