In Sun-Drenched Greece, Carlsberg Pilots Solar Thermal Technology
Taking advantage of what is still plenty of untapped solar energy in Greece, Carlsberg Group is installing what the company says is the most efficient solar thermal system currently on the market. The system will produce heat, reducing the use of fossil fuels in the process, and it could be a big step toward Carlsberg’s goal of zero carbon emissions in its breweries by 2030.
The solar thermal collectors will be designed and manufactured by Absolicon, a Swedish company specializing in industrial heating processes. In an interview last year, Absolicon CEO Joakim Byström said breweries, dairy processors and the textile industry are ideal applications for this technology.
Although many companies are switching to renewable electricity, heating often consumes the lion’s share of the total energy consumption in these industries, largely due to the need to wash bottles or textiles, heat ingredients, or pasteurize products. Other industries that could benefit from solar thermal collectors include mining, desalination, pulp and paper, and pharmaceuticals.
Carlsberg, a multinational Danish conglomerate that owns dozens of beer brands, aims to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources at its breweries and to use zero coal by 2022. The company says it is examining many critical areas of sustainability, looking far beyond clean electricity.
In addition to its focus on clean energy, the company is also implementing water conservation measures, especially in high-risk areas. The company has also taken on other sustainability projects. For example, Carlsberg is partnering with WWF to address the loss of sea grass, an understated carbon sink. The company has also rolled out snap packs that are held together by glue, not plastic wrap or rings.
As far as its investments in renewables go, Carlsberg’s use of solar thermal technology is appealing because it can be used to retrofit existing systems, reducing upfront costs.
Absolicon designed its solar thermal systems to integrate with existing equipment, creating a hybrid approach. These arrays specialize in emissions-free heat and steam for industrial applications, with temperatures up to 320 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius). When sufficient solar resources are not available, a plant’s management team then can turn to already existing equipment to generate heat.
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