The biomass boiler in use by Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) is a first for Namibia and is the country’s largest wood boiler. According to NBL’s 2020 integrated annual report, the biomass boiler replaced the use of approximately 8 million litres of heavy fuel oil since it was put into operation in 2016.
Before the initial Covid-19 lockdown ensued in March, NBL was on track to generate 80% of its thermal energy from the biomass boiler by the end of the financial year.
“Thermal energy is mainly used in the brewing process, however also for cleaning and packaging purposes. We aim to reduce thermal energy consumption as it directly affects our carbon footprint and the use of heavy fuel oils or wood chips,” reads the report.
The biomass boiler uses wood chips sourced from pervasive invader bush, thereby clearing land for use and improving the carrying capacity of farms. For the year under review, invader bush thinning was completed for approximately 970 hectares.
Also, according to the report, NBL’s rooftop solar plant met 7.9% (2019: 7.3%) of electricity demand in the past year. Overall, the solar plant provided NBL with approximately 1 470 528 kWh of green energy for the year, thereby saving 1 471 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
NBL also stated that it is fully self-sustainable in terms of its CO2 consumption needs. It has significantly reduced their consumption over the years through daily recording, observation and corrective actions, and they stated that they can now recover an average of 30% more than they consume. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 lockdown meant that NBL did not generate this surplus during the year.
Furthermore, NBL is Windhoek’s biggest industrial water user. Water is vital for its operations as it is the primary ingredient in its products and is used in almost all manufacturing processes. One of NBL’s major capital expenditure projects for 2020 was its water treatment plant for its boreholes.
“We commissioned the plant in November 2019 to improve the quality of the water we extract and reduce our water dependency on the City of Windhoek’s resources. It uses the latest software which ensures optimal operation and further reduces plant downtime. This should allow our boreholes to satisfy 80% of our water needs.
Our boreholes’ overall contribution to our water demand was 32%, reaching a maximum of 74% during April 2020,” reads the report. Other water-saving initiatives included is the project to recover beer from spent yeast as well as the monitoring and tracking of water usage to identify water wastage and abnormal consumption.
The report stated that the majority of the excess water used during production is reclaimed and transferred into the city’s effluent system, where it gets treated to an acceptable level before being disposed into a river system.
Carbon-conscious… The Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) plant in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial Area. Before the Covid-19 lockdown in March this year, NBL was on track to generate 80% of its thermal energy from its biomass boiler, which remains the country’s biggest wood boiler.