We can’t deny that the ecosystem of our earth is out of balance today. If everyone lives as we do in the West, then eventually we will need more than one planet. That is why we limit our ecological footprint as much as possible. All electricity we buy for the brewery is 100% green, from renewable sources. And that is not the only measure we've taken.
When we think of sustainability, we often only think of environmental sustainability or the use of natural ingredients. When using such ingredients we must, indeed, make sure that they are not exhausted. However, we should not ignore economic sustainability, where the growth of competitiveness – almost literally – is soundly combined with respect for people and nature. With every investment or technological change, we examine whether, and how, we can keep negative impacts on people, the environment and our surroundings to a minimum.
Research and Development is a major pillar. Our R&D regularly leads to the development and use of prototypes and applications with a demonstrable, positive impact on the environment.
Quality control and the use of the Best Available Techniques (BAT) are also high on the company radar. Duvel Moortgat signed the ‘Food Industry Companies Environmental Charter’ back in 1999. This commits us to a proactive environmental policy.
All electricity we buy for the brewery is 100% green, from renewable sources. But we also have our own 12,500 m² solar panels installed on the roof of the brewing room and the ageing areas. With a capacity of 600 kW, they are able to generate 600 megawatt-hours/year. This is comparable to the average energy consumption of 150 families. All the electrical energy we generate via the solar panels is used in the brewery.
Good energy management counts. Internal recovery processes are important. We heat our company buildings and warehouses using the warmth produced by fermentation. This is one example of a closed circuit with which we prevent emission and waste flows.
A closed circuit like this is also used to warm our cellars where the second fermentation occurs with heat that we collect from... the cooling system in our huge ageing rooms. We also use steam condensation in the brewing room to heat the following brew to almost boiling point.
WE ARE CONSTANTLY TAKING MEASURES TO REDUCE OUR EMISSIONS TO A MINIMUM. THE CHALLENGE TO INCREASE OUR BREWING EFFICIENCY IS ONGOING. MEANWHILE, ALL THE ENERGY WE PURCHASE IS GREEN AND CARRIES CERTIFICATION OF A GUARANTEED SOURCE. BIOGAS IS USED AS FUEL FOR OUR STEAM GENERATORS.
TWO FOOTBALL PITCHES SOLAR PANELS
12,500 M² of solar panels can be found on the roofs of the maturing cellars. Every year these produce 633 MWh of eco-friendly electricity, comparable with the average energy consumed by 180 households or 4 % of the brewery's total electricity consumption.
In our Duvel Logistics Ruisbroek warehouses all forklift and reach trucks are electrical. They ‘fill up’ directly with electricity from the solar panels on the roof.
YEAST TO WARM OUR OFFICES
Heat is released during fermentation. This is known as an exothermic process. By cooling the fermentation tanks this heat is recovered and used as energy for processes requiring warmth. We heat our offices and cellars, where the beer is kept to re-ferment for two weeks at 24°C, using the energy from the fermentation process.
BIOGAS FROM WATER PURIFICATION
REUSE COMPARABLE WITH THE AVERAGE ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION OF 1,500 FOUR PERSON HOUSEHOLDS.
In our new modern water purification installation (2017), we now purify the waste water to way beyond the strict environmental standards. We also use more and more of the energy, raw materials and water released from that purification process. Methane gas is extracted from the anaerobic part of our organic water purification, where 80% of the organic waste materials are removed. We reuse this biogas to drive steam generators. Every year, we are able to reuse a quantity of biogas from our water purification process.
All the energy we purchase is one hundred per cent green and carries official certification of its guaranteed source. This electricity comes largely from Scandinavian hydro plants.
20 containers per month ALONG INLAND WATERWAYS
Since early 2017, over 20 sea containers filled with Duvel-Moortgat beers have been traveling each month along the inland waterways from the container terminal in Willebroek to the ports of Antwerp or Rotterdam in order to be sent to China. We do this in partnership with the family business ODTH, who have already won the VOKA Economic impact Award. The ODTH shipping terminal is along the sea channel between Brussels and the river Scheldt, 2 kilometers from the brewery. We first commissioned these shipments at the end of 2016. This method of transport is more ecological. Inland waterway transport creates less than half the CO2 emissions compared to traditional lorry transport. It is of course also a better choice when you consider the traffic congestion.
EFFICIENT LIGHT BULB. On site at the brewery we are carrying out measurements as part of the Flemish Energy Policy Agreement (EPA), allowing us to contribute to the Flemish and European climate and energy objectives. In this internal EPA audit, we are gathering data about the current and historic energy consumption, the processes and utilities and developing very specific energy- saving measures. An example: in 2016 all office lighting was adapted from type T8 to T5 lamps. These are 17% more efficient. They provide more light and last longer. LEDs. In the production environment, company car parks and storage areas old lighting is systematically being replaced with more economical lighting.
So, for example, in the cold and warm maturing cells we have placed energy-saving LED lighting of a type that contains little or no blue or UV light which means there is no light that can harm the beer maturing in the bottles. In Duvel's cold storage alone, we are already using around 60,000 KWh less in lighting.
Also our well-known advert ‘Ssst... hier rijpt den Duvel’ (Shhh... here's a Duvel in the making) along the A12 in Puurs-Breendonk was recently completely renewed and refitted with economical LEDs.
We use these where possible. With a frequency control, the production volume can be adjusted by adapting the engine speed. This saves a significant amount of energy, particularly when pumping.
We will soon be using the methane gas produced when the organic material in our wastewater is broken down as fuel for steam generators. This means that we reuse about 11% of all thermal energy on an annual basis in the Puurs brewery (ca. 3,500 MWh). We also ensure all sorts of heat exchanges. As a result, for instance, the thermal load in the brewing room is extremely low.
THE WORLDWIDE DEMAND FOR DRINKING WATER HAS DOUBLED OVER THE LAST FIFTY
YEARS. THIS DEMAND IS ANTICIPATED TO GROW A FURTHER 40% IN THE NEXT FIFTEEN YEARS. WE MUST USE WATER IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY IN ORDER TO PROTECT OUR NATURAL WATER SUPPLY.
It will be of no surprise that water is the main ingredient in brewing beer. Many additional processes, and particularly the cleaning of installations and vessels such as recycled bottles and barrels, mean that lots of water is required in the preparation of beer. It is therefore quite logical that we, as a brewery, make as many efforts as possible to limit water consumption to a strict minimum.
We have been purifying the waste water in our produc- tion process for almost a quarter of a century. Our new water purification station was commissioned in the summer of 2017. Using a combined anaerobic/aerobic system we now cleanse the water to far greater standards than required by the strict Vlarem environmental norm, before releasing the so called effluent in a natural water course (the Meerloop).
The biomass created in purifying the water is used in agriculture as a soil improver. We use the biogas as fuel in the steam generators. As from the end of 2018 we will reuse 20% of our purified water, after ultra filtration and reverse osmosis, in a variety of cleaning and cooling processes in the brewery.
30% LESS water consumption.
Brewing requires water. Not only for the beer itself but also to rinse and clean pipes, tanks, filter and filling installations. We also give reusable bottles and barrels a thorough clean, as well as beer crates and the production areas. This meant that an average of 6.2 liters of water was required for every liter of beer brewed in 2017. This figure is already 21% less than was required in 2013 (benchmark year). By 2020 we wish to continue reducing our water consumption to 5.5 liters per liter of beer (-30%).
Measures to reduce the consumption include the following :
• Optimization of cleaning processes
• Better recovery of rinsing water
• Investment in more economical installations
• Use of dry condensers, etc.
The water used for brewing is mainly water from our natural underground sources located 60 meters below the site of the brewery.The natural biomass created in the water purification installation is reused as a soil improver in agriculture.
In the small stream which carries our purified water into the river Rupel there are plenty of healthy frogs and all kinds of fish.
EVERY DAY AN OLYMPIC SWIMMING
Every day we purify an average of 2500 m³ of water. That is the volume used in an Olympic swimming pool. With the capacity of our new, modern water purification installation we could purify the waste water from 84,000 PEOPLE.
By the end of 2018 we will be reusing a good 20% of our purified waste water. This water,
EVERY DROP COUNTS
Over the last few years much has been invested in additional measuring equipment, to carefully monitor all flows of water. At weekly meetings these trends are discussed in detail and improvements are made.
Sam, brewer at Duvel Moortgat
“People don't think about water when they drink a lovely clear Duvel. They don't need to either. I will do that for them. I am busy almost the entire day checking the quality of the water, before, during and also after the brewing process.”
BEE HAPPY - WITH PROFITS FROM DUVEL HONEY
Bees are a measure of our environment. Pollination by insects and particularly bees is essential for three-quarters of our food crops. Therefore it's not good news that a third of all bee colonies did not survive the spring in 2013. And this situation continues to get worse every year. A parasite plus the worrying decline in suitable natural habitats for bees are the major causes.
The roof of our new office building is now home to around 160,000 honey bees, in two hives with two queens. Depending on the amount of sun, we have an annual total of around 100 kilos of Duvel honey, flavored not with hops but with the linden tree and a hint of mint.
All the profits from the sale of our honey are returned to our beekeeper as extra funding for his fabulous work.