SAB to power breweries through waste-to-energy

Bio2Watt’s 4MW plant at Bronkhorstspruit, which supplies the BMW car plant in Rosslyn.

THE South African Breweries (SAB) has signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a black-woman owned industrial scale biogas waste-to-energy company, Bio2Watt. The renewable energy will be supplied from the Cape Dairy Biogas Plant once it reaches commercial operation.

Construction of Cape Dairy plant, located in Malmesbury is expected to commence in July/August this year and will start feeding approximately 4,8MW into the national grid by second half of 2023, all of which will be taken up by SAB at its various breweries around the country.

Founder and managing director of Bio2Watt, Sean Thomas explained that the PPA with SAB is similar to the successful PPA the company has with BMW South Africa, who have been offtaking approximately 3MW of power for its vehicle building operation at Rosslyn in Pretoria for the past seven years.

In the wake of its success with the first South African biogas project in Bronkhorstspruit, Bio2Watt will build, own and operate its second commercial biogas project in the country. The project is housed in a special purpose vehicle – The Cape Dairy Project (Pty) Ltd.

The Cape Dairy Biogas Project is located on one of SA’s biggest dairy farms, Vyvlei Dairy farm owned by Morester, with its principal business being the supply of milk to the dairy industry from an estimated 7 000 dairy cows permanently residing on the farm. The project makes use of considerable quantities of slurry manure with a mix of other waste streams available within the surrounding region. The location provides the plant with proximity to key fuel supplies, grid access and sufficient grey water from water collection dams.

SAB’s holding company Anheuser-Busch InBev’s global 2025 sustainability targets for climate action are that 100% of its purchased electricity will come from renewable sources and carbon emissions will be reduced by 25% across its value chain.

“Under this Power Purchase Agreement and installed renewable electricity, SAB will achieve 23% contracted renewable electricity” says VP of Procurement and Sustainability in Africa, Conor Ruff.

All of SAB’s Breweries in South Africa already use solar power, which we are currently expanding and the Alrode brewery in Johannesburg is also making use of a biogas facility.

Pioneers in the alternative energy field, Bio2Watt have successfully secured a number of firsts for South Africa, including the ground breaking Bronkhorstspruit Biogas Plant which began supplying power in 2015.

A range of other inventive biogas projects are currently in development. These independent commercial enterprises will contribute to diversifying the South African energy mix away from coal, which today still forms over 90% of South Africa’s total electricity generation capacity.

Thomas explained that Bio2Watt’s ‘purely green energy’ approach is two-fold: the production of clean energy from a variety of natural sources and the utilisation of what typically goes into landfills in the energy generation processes, thereby assisting in the decrease of water and air pollution.

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