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Coopers has adopted world-best practices in the areas of energy recovery, power generation, water usage, recycling and efficient operation.

Cogeneration plant

All Coopers’ electricity and steam requirements are drawn from a 4.4 megawatt (MW) natural gas-powered cogeneration plant located on site.
The plant, built in partnership with AGL, burns natural gas in a turbine to drive an electricity generator, and uses the waste heat to produce steam used in the brewing and malting process. 

As a result, the plant achieves an energy use efficiency of 80%, which is approximately 2.5 times greater than a conventional power station. This has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by up to 15,000 tonnes per annum compared with a conventional power plant – the equivalent of taking an estimated 3,200 standard vehicles off the road for a year.

The cogeneration plant produces 12,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of power per year for the brewery and the maltings, while a further 13,000 MWh is fed into the South Australian power grid.

The plant also generates 50,000 tonnes of steam 
a year, used for heating in brewing and production processes, and for pre-heating in the maltings kiln.

CoopersPlant

Water Usage

All water used by Coopers originates from aquifers beneath the brewery, reducing the demand on Adelaide’s reticulated water supply.

This underground water is clean but saline and is purified by reverse osmosis. Extraction rates from the aquifers are monitored to ensure they do not exceed the rate of replenishment. 

Approximately 70% of the water fed into the purification plant is used in the brewing process. The remaining 30% is concentrated salt water and is pumped through a dedicated pipeline into the intertidal zone at the Barker Inlet under the terms of 
a licence with the Environmental Protection Agency.  

Environmental scientists report that the water from the pipeline has a similar salt concentration to the brackish environment produced in the intertidal zone, where seawater mixes with freshwater.

In addition, Coopers captures and recycles up to 35 megalitres (35 million litres) of water each year. The brewery has two 45,000 litre tanks, in which recaptured water is stored and tested before use.

Water is recovered from production areas, mainly in the bottling and evaporation plants, and is recycled for irrigation and other non-production uses. This is supplemented by further excess water from the reverse osmosis plant.

Malting plant

The 13,000 square metre plant is considered the most technologically advanced in the world in terms of water usage, process control and automation. It can produce more than 54,000 tonnes of malt a year.

Water used in steeping comes from the purified water from the saline aquifers. Unique custom designed features have allowed Coopers to reduce steeping times, water usage and kiln-gas during the malting process. Power is drawn from the cogeneration plant.

Pre-steeping 

Coopers Maltings employs a unique barley wetting screw, that was designed in-house, to wet the grain and remove contaminants from barley. The damp grain is then allowed to rest under controlled conditions for two hours. During this time, the moisture content rises from 10% to 25%, allowing shorter steeping times, more vigorous grain for germination and the possibility of single steeping under certain circumstances, thereby saving water.

Kiln Pre-Heating

The cogeneration plant produces steam from the gas turbine waste heat. A new heat exchanger has been installed to convert surplus steam into hot water, which is used to pre-heat kiln air. This ‘free’ energy reduces gas consumption in the kiln by up to 40%.

Operations management

Coopers’ extensive monitoring systems help to maximise efficiency and reduce waste. A sophisticated brewery-wide Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) monitoring system collects a broad range of information that is used for this process control and monitoring. It allows all aspects of brewing and evaporation of product to be optimised. 

Energy audits have resulted in the installation of high-efficiency, low-energy lighting in all areas of the brewery, while condition monitoring of machinery determines the need for intervention to improve efficiency or, alternatively, replacement with more modern and effective equipment.

All fluid wastes are monitored for temperature, pH levels and conductivity to ensure they meet appropriate standards as part of Coopers’ trade waste licence with SA Water.

CoopersRecycling

Recycling

Each year, Coopers sells scrap material generated from day-to-day operations at the brewery for recycling, with all proceeds directed to the Coopers Brewery Foundation. Scrap materials include metal, paper, cardboard, plastics, glass and other sundry items. 

The recycling of metals, including aluminium, light gauge and stainless steel, has raised about $235,000 since 2007, while the recycling of glass, paper and cardboard has generated more than $200,000.

The company’s recycling efforts are largely driven by staff. Coopers has placed special bins at strategic points throughout the brewery where recyclable materials can be deposited. Employees are encouraged to ensure any scrap materials go into the appropriate bins, and suppliers are encouraged to minimise the amount of packaging and other waste that comes into the brewery in the first place.

Organic waste is utilised wherever possible. For example, spent grains and trub (protein waste from the brewing process) are retained and sold as stock feed. 

Coopers is a signatory to the National Packaging Covenant and is classified as a leading organisation when measured against the core performance criteria.

All packaging is recyclable and this, in combination with optimisation of the packaging process, has resulted in a 50% reduction in material to landfill.

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