In the state of Baja California in northern Mexico, Veolia has installed a new water treatment system that allows the world's third largest brewer to reduce its water consumption.
Heineken targets a 30% reduction in its global water consumption by 2020
You may enjoy a beer, but do you know what it takes to produce it? The second most popular drink in the world is also one of those that uses the most water: it takes about 5 liters of the precious liquid to produce just 1 liter of beer.
Beer is 95% water, but in addition water is used at every stage of production: brewing, cooling, cleaning equipment and so on. And the quality of the water is responsible for the high quality of the finished product.
In a global context of water scarcity, brewers today face a major challenge: how can they reduce their water consumption without affecting the quality or volume of production?
This challenge is even more crucial in a country like Mexico where the need for water is greater than the resources available. At the beginning of the millennium, the Mexican government declared a national water crisis.
The causes? The unequal distribution of resources (scarcity in the north, abundance in the south), agricultural and industrial discharges that pollute water reserves and obsolescent water treatment and storage infrastructures.
More sober production through innovation
Heineken therefore took on a major challenge when it moved into the country in 2010. Especially since the world's third largest brewer also set itself the goal of a 30% reduction in its world-wide water consumption by 2020.
One of the ways of achieving their goal means investing in new and more efficient equipment to prevent water losses. The expansion of the Heineken plant in Baja California in northern Mexico was the perfect opportunity to put their commitment into practice.
Heineken decided to call on Veolia, which in 2015 installed a new water treatment system using an ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis process. The idea is to treat the raw water - often polluted - and as far as possible minimize losses. Three hundred cubic meters can be purified per hour, thereby ensuring the quality of the beer produced in the plant.
The system is also designed so that 30% of the water used during the treatment process is reused to operate the equipment (cooling tower, boiler, refrigerator, etc.).
It is an exemplary process that illustrates a large industrial group’s commitment to protecting local natural resources.