Sociedade Central de Cervejas e Bebidas (SCC), a brewery in Vialonga near Lisbon, Portugal, has significantly reduced water usage by improving operating performance and reliability with help from GE’s advanced membranes and water chemical technology. The site reused wastewater to its cooling towers, which enabled it to reduce its yearly water discharge by 1.9 million gallons (72 million liters) and reduce its annual fresh water consumption by the same amount. It also increased production performance by 40 percent in the tertiary treatment.
GE has awarded SCC an ecomagination award to recognize the company for its noteworthy reductions in fresh water consumption and wastewater discharge. GE’s ecomagination award recognizes the achievements of industrial users for striking a positive balance between environmental, industrial and sustainability challenges.
“At SCC we strive to continuously improve the environmental impact of our brands and business; empower the people and the communities where we operate; and positively impact the role of beer in society. Brewing beer is water-intensive, and we are committed to increase sustainability and use less water, which is a precious resource,” said Ronald den Elzen, CEO of Sociedade Central de Cervejas e Bebidas, part of the Heineken Group. “We are honored that GE has recognized us for an ecomagination award.”
SCC has some groundwater available at the site, but it was not enough to meet the needs of the brewery. The other option was to use extremely expensive city water. In addition, Portugal is at a high risk of water scarcity over the next decades, so SCC turned to GE for help. By using GE’s low-fouling reverse osmosis membranes and advanced chemistry technology, SCC was able to improve tertiary water treatment performance, reducing shutdowns by five times, also contributing to cost savings.
This was not the first environment-related project developed together by GE and SCC. GE’s technologies contributed to other sustainable initiatives in the past years:
- A cooling tower monitoring and control system and advanced chemistry reduced makeup water consumption in the cooling towers by controlling concentration cycles at higher rates.
- The pasteurization process was improved with a significant reduction of water and steam consumption.
The ecomagination award is part of GE’s ecomagination commitment, which focuses on developing technologies and solutions to meet environmental challenges such as water scarcity.