Brewery Innovation: Lancashire's Hydrogen Revolution

InBev
InBevImage Source: Lancs

Synopsis:

InBev's groundbreaking plan to create a hydrogen-powered brewery in Lancashire faces scrutiny and potential approval. Protium, the energy partner, aims to decarbonize Samlesbury Brewery, cutting 11,000 metric tons of CO₂ annually. Despite concerns about Green Belt impact, council officers highlight the project's "very special circumstances." The proposal includes a hydrogen production facility and refueling station, addressing objections related to ecology, wildlife, and residential impact. Council recommendations emphasize renewable energy benefits, job creation, and economic gains. If greenlit, development is slated for spring 2024, with operational status expected by winter 2025.

Article:

In a pioneering venture poised to reshape Lancashire's industrial landscape, InBev and energy partner Protium's vision of a hydrogen-powered brewery in Samlesbury undergoes critical evaluation. Announced in March 2023, the plan targets the decarbonization of Samlesbury Brewery, a move anticipated to curtail 11,000 metric tons of CO₂emissions annually, equivalent to removing 5,800 cars from the road.

The latest development unfolds as Samlesbury Net Zero Ltd seeks approval from South Ribble Borough Council for a hydrogen production facility and refueling station. Positioned north of the existing brewery, the project encompasses storage tanks, dispatch facilities, a pipeline, and an access road. Residents' objections, including concerns about the Green Belt, have prompted thorough scrutiny.

Despite objections, council officers contend that the "very special circumstances" presented by the applicants outweigh potential harm to the Green Belt. Concerns raised by residents span the undermining of Green Belt functionality, loss of wildlife and agricultural space, potential residential impact, increased flooding risks, light and noise pollution, and augmented heavy vehicle traffic. Samlesbury and Cuerdale Parish Council align with these concerns, expressing reluctance to sacrifice land for emissions reduction.

However, responses from ecological and environmental authorities paint a different picture. South Ribble's Ecology Consultant and National Highways find no significant ecological issues or objections. Natural England deems the proposed development non-adverse to designated sites. United Utilities and the Environmental Health team propose ongoing discussions over drainage and the creation of wet ditches to address potential impacts.

The operational mechanics of the project involve transferring hydrogen gas via a pipeline to the brewery's boilers, replacing natural gas. Additionally, compressed hydrogen stored on-site fuels hydrogen-powered brewery vehicles. The process primarily emits oxygen, with no significant waste products. The applicant pledges to secure electricity through a green energy tariff and utilize water from existing sources.

Access to the facility is planned through a new roundabout connecting to the InBev site and a new entrance for emergency vehicles. The project's potential impact on jobs is noted in the report, foreseeing a small number of new positions and the safeguarding of existing jobs by steering towards sustainable, green energy use.

Council officers recommend approving the plans, asserting that benefits in renewable energy production and economic gains outweigh potential harm. If given the green light, development is slated to commence in spring 2024, with operational status expected by winter 2025.

Conclusion:

Lancashire stands at the cusp of a transformative energy revolution as InBev's vision for a hydrogen-powered brewery faces evaluation. Despite resident objections, the proposal, driven by Protium, aligns with a broader commitment to decarbonization, aiming to cut 11,000 metric tons of CO₂ annually. While concerns about the Green Belt persist, council officers emphasize the project's "very special circumstances," advocating for its approval. The planned hydrogen production facility and refueling station hold promises of ecological sustainability, job creation, and economic benefits. Lancashire could witness a groundbreaking shift towards renewable energy, with development slated for spring 2024 and operational status expected by winter 2025.

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