Samlesbury Brewery aerial

The site could house Protium's second hydrogen facility with Budweiser. Credit: via Freshfield

Budweiser lines up green power at Samlesbury

Working with Protium, the beer giant is looking to make Lancashire’s largest brewery net zero through an on-site hydrogen facility.

The Samlesbury Net Zero project, combined with other initiatives, aims to help Budweiser Brewing Group’s Samlesbury brewery meet its thermal demand, heating and transport needs through green hydrogen energy.

Budweiser and Protium’s professional team for the project includes planning consultant Gerald Eve and environmental consultant ITPE.

The new facility would be built next to the brewery, which lies just off the A59 between Preston and Blackburn. The facility, which would include an electrolyser, associated plant and refuelling station, would cover an area similar in size to one and a half full-size football pitches.

Under the plans, Protium would fund, build, and operate the site for the brewery and is targeting the end of 2025 to be operational. A planning application for the project will be submitted this spring following consultation.

Once produced, the hydrogen would be fed directly to hydrogen-ready boilers allowing the brewery to meet the thermal demand of its brewing processes and other heating requirements.

It would also supply a hydrogen refuelling station for use by hydrogen-ready heavy goods vehicles. The heat from the hydrogen production facility (HPF) will be recovered and used in Budweiser’s bottling process.

This could be Protium’s third HPF in the UK and its second with Budweiser after the announcement in 2022 of plans for the Magor brewery in South Wales. Protium, established in 2019, is headquartered in London.

The project supports the region’s wider net zero ambitions. South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council both have an ambition for their own operations and activities to be carbon neutral by 2030, and the UK is working towards a 2050 net zero target.

The partners said that once operational, the Samlesbury Net Zero project will save up to 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

Luiz Brandao, head of procurement and sustainability at AB Inbev-owned Budweiser Brewing Group, said: “Sustainability is core to our business at Budweiser Brewing Group as we work towards net zero ambitions. Innovative solutions like hydrogen have huge potential for reducing our carbon footprint in the UK and moving us towards our ambitious sustainability goals.”

Chris Jackson, chief executive of Protium, added: “Samlesbury Net Zero is an investment in our environment, community, economy and our future. We’re thrilled to announce our intentions to deliver this major investment into green hydrogen energy in Lancashire.

“Working with the local community will be at the heart of this project. We want to use the local supply chain where possible and engage with the education and business communities to provide upskilling opportunities for the region in green hydrogen energy production.”

Hydrogen has become a major area of interest as the region and wider UK looks towards a carbon-reduced future. A demonstrator facility was opened in autumn 2022 in Cheshire, where a hydrogen-powered village is being researched, while hydrogen plants are also being advanced in Barrow-in-Furness and Stanlow.

Samlesbury’s brewery employs around 350 staff and has the capacity to brew 295 million pints per year.

Protium is holding a public consultation event on Saturday 25 March at Brockholes and is also inviting feedback through online consultation.

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Those roofs are just begging to have PV panels installed , which will probably have a quicker payback than hydrogen.

By Graham Wilson

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