15 May 2023

Absolicon and Calsberg join forces: pilot project launched in Greece

Can one brew beer with the help of the sun? The answer is yes. That's exactly what the Carlsberg Group and Absolicon are doing together in a new pilot project. In early 2023, they commissioned a field of solar thermal collectors at the Olympic Brewery in the company's facility in Sindos, Salonika, Greece. By Absolicon Solar Collector AB.

This is a first step in our cooperation with Absolicon, we want to see how much carbon-neutral heat their technology can produce, says Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, Senior Director, Group Sustainability & ESG at the Carlsberg Group.

The beverage industry is one of the most suitable sectors for solar thermal as the processes in a brewery essentially operate below 100 degrees Celsius. Since most beverages are consumed on hot summer days, both breweries and soft drink producers are busy during the sunniest months of the year. This gives the beverage industry a great advantage over other industries when replacing their fossil fuel consumption with solar heat. Here, Absolicon will play a major role both now - and in the future. This is something that Carlsberg has noticed.

One of our main sustainability goals is to reach zero carbon emissions in our brewing processes already by 2030. Our partnership with Absolicon is an important step in the right direction, says Simon Boas Hoffmeyer.

Phasing out fossil fuels requires both patience and a willingness to test new technologies. Already in 2021, Absolicon and Carlsberg signed an agreement to build a pilot solar field at the Olympic Brewery in the company's production facility in Sindos, Salonika, Greece. The solar field with the patented Absolicon T160 concentrating solar collector was installed in 2022. The solar collectors will power industrial processes in the brewery with solar heat, financed by a heat purchase agreement.

Our vision is that this installation will be a good example of how the brewing industry can gradually exclude fossil fuels from its processes and thus reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, says Simon Boas Hoffmeyer.

The project was commissioned in the spring when the sun is at its strongest in Greece. By using solar heating instead of natural gas, Carlsberg expects to save up to 70 tons of CO2 emissions during the year of the pilot project.

The solar field is about 1 900 square meters, about the size of seven tennis courts. We look forward to evaluating the technology to see how we can use it in the future, says Simon Boas Hoffmeyer.

The initiative in Greece is fully in line with Carlsberg's sustainability program "Together Towards ZERO and Beyond" which, among other things, will contribute to the group's commitment to mitigate the effects of climate change by using renewable energy to power the production processes in breweries.

Our idea is to also use the pilot project in Greece to demonstrate the potential of solar thermal for the brewing industry, but also for other industries so that we can build a carbon-free future together, he says.

The Absolicon solar thermal field at Carlsberg Group’s Olympic Brewery in Greece

It takes almost three times as much thermal power as electricity for the Carlsberg Group to produce its beer. In a one-year pilot, Absolicon T160 solar collectors will generate 150 °C/4bar (g) steam for can pasteurization at the Olympic Brewery site.

The solar thermal field is expected to produce 340 MWH per year.

During sunnier summer months, the solar collectors will ramp up their solar thermal contribution to satisfy up to 70% of the energy demanded by the can pasteurizer (the process selected for the solar pilot) and 5% of the brewery’s total energy demand per day.

The solar collector field occupies 1,900 m2 – roughly the size of seven tennis courts – and there is potential to extend it by up to six times that size to generate even more heat from the sun.


Absolicon solar collector

By providing world-leading, cost-effective solar heat solutions for industries worldwide, we are on a mission to lead the change towards a sustainable energy supply for our planet.

Absolicon has a unique technology, based on 20 years of research, for extracting energy in different forms using concentrated solar collectors. Our solar collector Absolicon T160 contains world-class components giving it the highest optical efficiency ever measured. The Absolicon T160 solar collector was the first of its kind to be certified with Solar Keymark in Europe and has since attained ICC-SRCC certification for North America.

In tests at The Swiss Institut für Solartechnik (SPF) in Rapperswil Absolicon T160s solar collector has shown to have an optical efficiency of 76.4 %. The highest number ever achieved for a small parabolic trough.

Absolicon has production partners located worldwide and they supply the market with the Absolicon T160 Solar collectors. The collector price is optimized by its streamlined design that allows mass production in Absolicon’s semi-automated production lines, producing one collector every 6 minutes.

The Absolicon T160 solar collector efficiently produces heat up to 160 °C and steam up to 8 bars and the solar heat and can be used for industrial production or district heating and cooling.

See the case video of the Carlsberg Group’s Olympic Brewery installation in Greece.

A qr code with a white background

Description automatically generated with low confidence