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#H2Explainer: How can we help turn beer into biomethane?

26 November 2021

Press contacts for journalists

Ed Gill

Communications Lead, Gas Goes Green

+44 (0)20 4599 7684

ENA Press Office

New data released by ENA shows that enough biomethane green gas is now being produced to heat the equivalent of 770,654 homes. But how does brewing beer help that?

Biomethane is a green gas produced from animal, crop and food waste, sewage plants and other sites, which is injected into Britain’s gas grid where it is mixed with natural gas. As well as being used for home heating and in industry, it is also used to generate electricity, helping keep Britain’s lights on in a greener way during the long, dark winter nights.

We've just published our first ever Britain’s Green Gas Scoreboard, on ENA's website, which sets out how gas networks are helping deliver the green gas.

Through the Gas Goes Green Pathway to Net Zero, the green gas has an important role to play in partnering with hydrogen and electricity to replace the carbon-emitting natural gas that 85% of British homes rely upon for heating, hot water and cooking today.

The commercial arm of the gas distribution network for Scotland, SGN, was recently selected to work with famed beer-company BrewDog to help them develop their ability to produce the green gas, at the company’s site at Ellon in Aberdeenshire.

BrewDog has ambitions of becoming the world’s most sustainable drinks company, targeting carbon neutrality among its operations by 2022. To do that, it’s developing an anaerobic digestion facility, water treatment plant, carbon dioxide recovery plant and associated energy generation centre in Ellon.

Anaerobic digestion, or AD is it is often known, is when organic waste material such as cow dung, thrown-out food or, in this case, brewer’s yeast is placed in a sealed container. As the material naturally decomposes, the gas produced is captured. It’s all based on a process that’s not too dissimilar from composting food wastein your home kitchen.

Brewdog’s facility will convert organic waste from the beer brewing process to produce biomethane that can be injected into the local gas grid, which will also help reduce their water usage by over 40%

SGN’s gas network aims to increase its biomethane injection into the grid to deliver an increase in renewable energy from approximately 254,000 to 450,000 homes by the end of 2026.

The company’s Biomethane Project Manager, Colin Small said: “We’re really excited to be working with Brewdog on this project and helping it to reach its negative carbon ambitions. We have worked on similar projects with other clients including distilleries and have seen the benefits the drinks sector can achieve in gas to grid solutions.”

Martin Dickie, BrewDog co-founder said: “In 2020, BrewDog announced it was the world’s first carbon negative brewery, but this was just the first step on our journey. It’s our mission to do everything in our power to become the most sustainable drinks business on the planet.

“Having never run an AD plant before with biomethane gas injection into the grid, the partner choice for the project was critical for us. We found SGN to be exceptional from initial discussions about the scope of the project all the way through the technical design and build. We are excited to have them as our partner and look forward to working with them for a long time to come.

“As well as becoming a zero-waste brewery, we’re also utilising alternative energies to fuel what we do, from electric delivery vehicles to using wind energy to power our brewery.”

Notes to editor

Gas Goes Green #H2Explainers are a series of blogs setting all the key information you need to know about how Britain’s gas networks are working to deliver hydrogen to our homes, as part of our 'Tomorrow's Heat, Today's Opportunity' campaign. Check out the ENA Newsroom to find other articles and updates from both gas and electricity network companies.

About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.

ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.

Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

What are energy network operators?

Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 40,000 people in Great Britain.

More information

Press contacts for journalists

Ed Gill

Communications Lead, Gas Goes Green

+44 (0)20 4599 7684

ENA Press Office