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Nov 11, 2011

King III drives ‘greener’ breweries

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Water and wastewater management company Talbot & Talbot reports that integrated reporting, as described in the King Code and Report on Governance in South Africa, or King III, is becoming the driving force behind a trend towards the more judicious use of natural resources, such as water and energy, in the brewery industry.

Talbot & Talbot director Dr Bernard Talbot says breweries are increasingly coming under pressure from clients and stake- holders to make their operations more environment friendly.

“More companies now want to comply with King III to produce positive financial and environmental results in their inte- grated reports,” says Talbot.

He adds that Talbot & Talbot is tapping into this trend by making its green tech- nology available to help breweries reduce their carbon footprints and energy costs, ensuring better compliance with King III and balanced integrated reports.

Technology for Green Energy
The company reports that its anaerobic digestion technology, which is licensed by Global Water Engineering, can be used to ensure greener brewery operations.

Talbot & Talbot director Frank Urbaniak-Hedley explains the anaerobic digestion technology is used to transform organic wastes in wastewater into biogas for use as green energy.

He adds that a brewery can reduce costs and waste by using biogas from its wastewater treatment plant as an energy source to power its operations.
Further, the company reports that the biogas produced from the treatment of wastewater can contribute to between 10% and 15% of a brewery’s steam requirements, reducing the need to buy increas- ingly expensive bunker fuels.

“A typical brewery’s biogas boiler produces 20 t of steam a day, with a value that depends on the cost and type of the current fuel it replaces, whether coal, gas or electricity. Therefore, the treatment plant changes from a cost centre to a profit centre,” he says.

These technologies have been success- fully applied to breweries producing more than 500 000 h/y of beer in Africa and abroad. Most breweries with a production output greater than 500 000 h/y will employ wastewater treatment processes prior to the discharge of their effluent, whether to munici- pal utilities or to the natural environment.

This treatment usually involves anaerobic digestion, possibly followed by aerobic treatment, although the specific requirements will vary depending on the final receiving environment.

Two Breweries, one in Gauteng and the other in Cape Town, are among the first in South Africa to use anaerobic digestion technology with biogas. As a result, the breweries have been able to drive down production costs and reduce their energy dependence on nonrenewable sources, states Talbot & Talbot.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
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