Belvedere reveals ambitious plan to power the town of ŻyrardówBy Sarah Neish
Bold plans are afoot for Belvedere to fuel the Polish town by 2025, feeding green energy produced in its distillery into the town’s power grid.
Belvedere Vodka is working on a long-term plan to supply Żyrardów’s power network with the green energy produced in-house at the spirit brand’s Polish distillery from 2025.
The radical move, which will see the brand supply energy to the town’s 41,161 residents, is still in its embryonic stages, with talks said to be taking place with the authorities of Żyrardów, around 53km outside of Warsaw, where the Belvedere Distillery is based.
The drinks business spoke exclusively with Rodney Williams, president and CEO for Belvedere Vodka, to drill down on how the clean energy produced at the Belvedere distillery will be rolled out to the rest of the town.
“A project team has been established, which includes representatives of the Belvedere Distillery and Przedsiębiorstwo Energetyki Cieplnej (PEC Heat Power Companies) in Żyrardów,” Williams said. “The idea is to develop the best technical solution for the connecting of our biomass facility with the local heating network. Żyrardów authorities are very interested in green energy and in reducing their dependence on coal.”
The plan is for energy from the distillery to be fed through a “specially constructed pipeline connecting the municipal power grid of Żyrardów with the energy system of Belvedere’s biomass capture facility.”
The project is no small feat, as Williams confirms. “This is obviously quite complicated—it requires the construction of a pumping station and a heat exchanger infrastructure, and the maintenance of appropriate control and flow of the energy stream.”
One key issue is just how much additional green energy, over and above what is currently being produced in the biomass capture plant, will the company need in order to power an entire town?
“Currently, the design team is working on the optimal use of energy from the Belvedere Distillery. The amount of energy transferred to the local community depends on many technical factors and the adopted cooperation strategy, so it’s hard to say exactly (how much more) at this stage,” says Williams.
The CEO says that the company intends to continue consulting with academicians, farmers and technologists throughout the process in order to “share and assess the latest strategies in sustainable agriculture.”
The launch of the biomass capture facility at Belvedere’s Polish distillery on 9 September, was a first for the spirits industry and has helped Belvedere Vodka to become a world leader in the green energy field.
As the first spirits distillery to receive a grant from the European Commission to pilot such a facility on site, Belvedere will start producing 100% renewable energy by 2022.