Widmer Brothers Brewing is celebrating the completion of a newly installed CO2 recovery system at its Portland brewery on North Russell Street, becoming the first Oregon brewer to close the CO2 loop. The system, built in partnership with ICC Engineering, is another step forward in the brewery’s ongoing commitment to setting the industry bar in sustainability.
CO2 is a natural byproduct of the brewing process, and as breweries expand production they have been looking for ways to manage their emissions output. Widmer Brothers Brewing’s new CO2 recovery system allows the brewery to capture, clean and filter the CO2 that is released during fermentation and reuse that captured gas for carbonization and packaging. By generating 100 percent of its CO2 needs onsite, Widmer Brothers has eliminated the need to purchase and transport hundreds of thousands of pounds of CO2 each year from outside suppliers, further aligning its brewing, packaging and transportation practices around environmental sustainability.
“As one of the largest brewers in Oregon, the sustainability benefits of installing a CO2 recovery system are huge,” said Julia Person, sustainability manager for Widmer Brothers. “We will be able to reuse our captured CO2 for packaging, reduce onsite emissions and eliminate the need to have multiple trucks delivering bulk CO2 to the brewery each week. Widmer Brothers has a long track record of supporting a cleaner environment, and we’re proud to be the first Oregon brewery to close the CO2 loop.”
This latest investment by Widmer Brothers is among many over the years to make the brewery more sustainable. As published in its 2017 Sustainability Report, Widmer Brothers is celebrating multiple achievements over the last year:
- Widmer Brothers is a leader in water to beer ratio, using 3.77 gallons of water per gallon of beer, with a goal to hit 3.47 gallons of water per gallon of beer this year.
- Widmer Brothers has made a concerted effort to tackle carbon intensity, resulting in world-class carbon efficiency per barrel of beer brewed. The brewery uses 10 kWh/bbl and 1.1 therms/bbl. With the help of Energy Trust of Oregon, the brewery hit 22.06 lbs of CO2/bbl this past year.
- Widmer Brothers sent 13,000 tons of spent grains to local farms, which helped divert 99.5 percent of the brewery’s total waste from landfills.