Wärtsilä has been awarded contracts by a UK-based brewer to supply and install equipment for two biomass-fuelled combined heat and power plants.

Wärtsilä has been awarded contracts by Scottish and Newcastle (S&N), the international brewing group, to supply and install two biomass-fuelled combined heat and power plants (CHP) on the premises of the company’s UK breweries in Manchester and Tadcaster.

The Wärtsilä BioPower plants will be the first power plants in the world ever to produce both electricity and heat using spent grain as fuel.

The CHP plants will each have a thermal output of 7.4MWth and an electrical output of 3.1MWe. They are due to start operations in the first and second quarters of 2009, producing steam and electricity for the breweries’ processes and exporting excess electricity to the local electricity network. S&N will earn Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC’s) for its production of renewable electricity.

'The Wärtsilä BioPower plants will enable Scottish & Newcastle to make more efficient use of residue from its beer production, cut down on waste handling and energy costs, as well as reducing CO2 emissions,' said Tauno Kuitunen, regional sales director, Wärtsilä Biopower Plants.

When installed, the Wärtsilä BioPower plants will burn a mixture of spent grain and wood chips from local sources. Spent grain is a by-product of the brewing process, consisting of solid residue after mashing and lautering. It consists of the grain remaining after the fermentable sugars have been extracted during the mashing process. The spent grain is delivered from the brew house with a moisture content of approximately 80 per cent. It is then passed through a belt press, which reduces the moisture to 58 - 60 per cent, a level suitable for combustion without requiring any additional drying.

Scottish and Newcastle is one of the world’s leading beer-led beverages companies with some of Europe's top beer brands like Baltika, Foster’s, and Kronenbourg 1664, as well as several major national beer brands such as Lapin Kulta and Karjala in Finland, John Smith’s and Strongbow in the UK, Kronenbourg Red&White in France, Sagres in Portugal, and Kingfisher in India.