Heineken’s Circle Project in collaboration with Yilkins.

Heineken has launched a groundbreaking initiative to improve the sustainability of its breweries with the Circle Project. This project, which is part of Heineken's broader CSR roadmap 'Brew a Better World', focuses on the valorization of spent beer grain, a by-product of the brewing process.
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What was the purpose of the project?

Launched in Mons-en-Barœul, France, the Circle Project aims to improve the sustainability of Heineken breweries through the valorization of spent beer grain. Every year, the brewery in Mons-en-Barœul produces approximately 55,000 to 60,000 tons of spent grain. By applying innovative technologies, Heineken aims to convert these raw materials into valuable products and at the same time significantly reduce CO₂ emissions.

The key role of Yilkins.

Yilkins makes a crucial contribution to the Circle Project with its advanced drying module for the fibrous residues of beer grain. This technology increases energy efficiency by 50% compared to traditional methods, which not only helps to achieve Heineken’s carbon neutral targets, but also optimizes operational costs. Yilkins’ technology plays a key role in achieving Heineken’s ambition to implement the Circle Project in six other European breweries by 2027.

The process: from beer grain to valuable product.

Beer grains (or draft), the byproduct of brewing, was traditionally discarded for agricultural use. The Circle Project introduces an innovative approach by converting spent grain into ‘green gold’. The process involves two major steps:

Protein extraction.

The brewery separates concentrated proteins from the spent grain, which are sold on the animal feed market and may be used for human consumption in the future.

Fiber drying.

The fibrous residue is dried and converted into biomass fuel for a new steam boiler. This steam boiler replaces fossil natural gas and produces the necessary steam for the brewery.

What are the advantages?

The Circle Project contributes to the reduction of CO₂ emissions by reducing the use of fossil fuels by 50%. This translates into a saving of approximately 20,000 tonnes of CO₂ equivalent per year, which is equivalent to 2,174 flights around the world. The project is an important step towards Heineken’s goal of achieving net-zero CO₂ emissions across its entire value chain by 2040.

About the technology:
the drying module.

Yilkins’ drying module is a core part of the Circle Project. This module uses Yilkins’ proprietary platform technology that significantly improves energy efficiency. The technology contributes to reducing the Total Cost of Ownership and strengthens the business case of the project. By optimizing the drying process, Yilkins helps Heineken achieve its sustainability goals.

Looking ahead to
future ambitions.

Heineken has ambitious plans to expand the Circle Project to six other European breweries by 2027. In the long term, Heineken wants to roll out this innovative approach worldwide. This commitment is in line with Heineken’s broader goal to maximize circularity in the production process and minimize the ecological impact of the brewing sector.

A strong partnership.

The Circle Project, powered by Yilkins’ cutting-edge technology, is an example of how industries can work together to create sustainable solutions. By applying innovative processes for the valorization of beer grain, Heineken is taking an important step towards a more sustainable future. Yilkins is proud to be part of this groundbreaking initiative and remains committed to technologies that contribute to lower carbon emissions and a more sustainable world. Find out more about this project? Then read Heineken’s official press release.
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Did this case
inspire you?

Inspired by our collaboration with Heineken? Discover how Yilkins technologies can contribute to your sustainability goals and contact us for more information.

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