Brewing Better: DB Draught in Timaru Embraces Clean Energy

DB Breweries’ Timaru-based DB Draught Brewery is today taking a big step on its journey to reach DB’s ambition of using 100% clean energy across all of its breweries and cidery in NZ by 2030. The brewery is transitioning to biomass energy, a cleaner and renewable energy source, for all of its thermal energy needs. This will see the site achieve a whopping 98% reduction in carbon emissions from steam.

The brewery uses steam (sometimes called “process heat” or “thermal energy”) as an essential part of the brewing process. Like many other breweries, DB Draught had been sourcing this steam through the burning of coal. Over the course of this year, the brewery will transition to biomass energy, a renewable energy generated using regionally sourced sustainable woody residue, a by-product of the forestry industry. From today, 60% of the brewery’s steam requirements will be met by biomass and this will increase to 100% by October 2021.

“We set an ambitious goal to halve our carbon footprint by 2030 (from a 2018 baseline) as well as transition our entire energy footprint in production to clean energy sources. Moving to biomass at Timaru this year is a major carbon reduction project to help us reach these ambitious goals, said Peter Simons, Managing Director at DB Breweries.

“Switching to biomass, and away from coal, will decrease DB’s total carbon footprint by 28%[1] as well as reduce thermal energy emissions at DB Draught Brewery by approximately 98%. This saving is equivalent to the average annual emissions of around 300 Kiwi households[2],” said Simons.

DB collaborated with Pioneer Energy, its current steam supplier, to convert their steam boiler from coal to biomass. Pioneer will use an equivalent volume of biomass fuel (sustainable woody by-product) to supply the brewery’s annual steam requirements.

"Pioneer Energy is very proud to help DB transition from coal to biomass at our District Energy Scheme, at Washdyke. DB is the first client at this energy scheme to transition and we are currently encouraging our other clients to consider the benefits of biomass," said Fraser Jonker, Chief Executive Officer at Pioneer Energy.

Whilst this is a major and important step in DB’s emission reduction roadmap, many other elements make up the wider DB carbon reduction plan. These include strategies to reduce carbon emissions associated with transporting our products (in 2019 DB reduced the distance products travelled by 30,000km, saving 25.91 tonnes of CO2), an ongoing focus on energy efficiency in operations (a particular focus at the 2020 winter plant maintenance shutdown led to ongoing water and energy saving wins), switching forklifts from LPG to electric (planned for 2021), and converting the sales fleet to hybrid vehicles. DB has also started to scope renewable fuel solutions for its Waitemata Brewery, which currently uses natural gas for industrial heat and accounts for 40% of the company’s carbon footprint.