Lion rolls out new energy efficiency strategy across breweries; Tooheys achieves 12% reduction in energy intensity in just three years

Reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency is a priority across all of Lion’s breweries including Boag’s, Castlemaine, The Pride, Tooheys and West End. With heat and water two key inputs for brewing, steam generation accounts for 60-70% of total energy use across the brewing industry. Beyond that, every brewery is different, with the types of beers, their density, production volumes and the age and location of the brewery, all playing a part in determining the energy mix used.

Lion’s Tooheys brewery in Sydney has been one of the pioneers in our Greenhouse Gas Reduction strategy. In 2016, the brewery introduced a three-phase energy efficiency program involving: (1) better engaging our people; (2) optimising our plant equipment; and (3) introducing capital projects to replace old, energy-intensive equipment. This new approach to energy reduction is paying off, driving a 12 per cent drop in energy intensity at the brewer in just three years. This equates to a fall in the average megajoules used to produce a hectolitre of beer from 117 MJ/hl in 2015 to just over 100 in 2019, which is approaching world leading levels of efficiency.

Insa Errey, Operations Project Lead at Tooheys, explains:

“Breweries are systems within systems. At Tooheys we spent a long time understanding the relationships between the utilities of the brewery and the manufacturing processes to find areas where we could reduce our energy intensity per hectolitre of beer produced.”

People Power

Insa continues:

“Our people play an important role in energy consumption, since the decisions about the running of the plant falls to them. We needed to get across that energy isn’t just the engineering teams’ responsibility, so we setup an engagement program we called ‘Power Rangers’, to ensure that teams fully understood their responsibility to turn off machinery, screens and lighting when not in use.

“We wanted to go beyond the usual staid energy efficiency posters and create something fun and relatable so, we decided to use internet-style memes that would appeal to the sense of humour of our people. The memes became a topic of conversation in their own right and stuck in people’s minds, so in three years we saw energy consumption fall by around 5% through behaviour changes alone.”

 

Equipment Optimisation

As breweries are added to, modified and consolidated, plant machinery equipment optimisation can often be overlooked. So, the second phase was to optimise our equipment to minimise energy use by reviewing the settings of all of our machinery. 30-40% of the energy consumption of a brewery is used by the refrigeration system. Through our systems review, we were able to ‘invisibly’ raise the temperatures of our refrigeration system, without affecting the cooling of beer in production.

Capital Investment

The final phase was geared to making step changes via large-scale capital investments. Tooheys’ co-generation plant was already recycling heat, water and steam. Through a $1.4m investment, the system was converted to a dual fuel engine, enabling us to use renewable biogas from the wastewater treatment plant to generate electricity, plus the heat recovery system was optimised to capture waste heat which could be sent to the brewhouse, to heat hot water for steam.

Insa continues:

“It’s exciting that, due to the success of our energy efficiency program at our Tooheys brewery, we are now rolling it out across our other breweries in Australia and New Zealand. Much of its success has been down to applying systems engineering to our brewing and then engaging our people to take action. We have a long way to go to decouple our beer production from carbon emissions and to get there we need to continually innovate how we use and generate energy as well as mitigating carbon emissions.

Across our breweries our people are passionate about energy reduction and they’re always bringing new ideas to the table, through their enthusiasm and a ‘whole-brewery’ approach, we’re confident in our ability to systematically minimise the energy intensity of brewing.”