Brewing Green in 2023: Adnams

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Brewing Green in 2023: Adnams

Going with the flow: How Adnams reduced water usage with a closed loop water recovery system

Adnams approach to reducing its demand for water was about more than just finding efficiencies. They wanted to understand how water flowed across the lifecycle of our products, to enable the to plan in mitigation from the start.

Adnams identified that the distillery produced a high temperature water waste stream and realised a valuable resource was going down the drain. A closed loop recovery system was developed to retain that resource. It uses heat exchangers to redirect it to another use.

This system was an idea inspired after a knowledge-sharing visit with The National Trust examining the principle of extracting heat from an unused source, viewing once wasted materials as resources. In our case, this meant water and heat.

In the Brewery there is a closed loop water system used for heat recovery. The vapour from the boiling wort is directed to a heat exchanger, where the heat is transferred into a large volume of water, stored outside in an insulated tank. This water is used in another heat exchanger, to heat the wort as it goes into the kettle, therefore it will require less heat (steam) to bring the wort to boiling.

In the Distillery, Adnams have a closed loop cooling system with water being pumped around all the condensers. This water is kept cold using a heat exchanger, with the cross flow being cold brewing liquor from the cold-water storage tank. By running this quickly it doesn’t pick up much heat and is recirculated back into the same tank. Some trim chilling is used to keep it very cold.

As a result, Adnams were the first UK brewery to complete a full water life-cycle assessment, to understand and influence the broader impact of their products.

All the heat and water from their beer and spirits production processes is now captured and reused. This technology has decreased water use in the distillery and reduced our energy bills. Adnams brewery recovers more than 90% of the steam it produces and converts it back into heat for the next batch. These projects are beginning to have an impact, and they expect to save 2 million litres of water this year.

Adnams have won the Edie Sustainability Leaders Award for Water Management twice, and more recently were recognised for their work in reducing consumption, with a Footprint Award for Energy Efficiency.

In other news…

Recovery and retention work continues as we look to recover both water and alcohol from our de-alcoholising processes in the production of Ghost Ship 0.5%.

Their sustainable distribution centre’s rainwater harvesting system saves around 1 million litres of water each year. Recycled rainwater is used to wash our trucks and flush our toilets. When it opened in 2006, it won a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Assessment Method) Award for excellence.

Brewing Green in 2023: Adnams