The agreement means Anheuser-Busch will partner with Ameresco Energy to purchase biogas from Allied Waste Services’ landfill on McCarty Road. Michael Bakas with Ameresco says biogas is a natural byproduct of waste decomposition.
“Allied essentially gives us the raw gas, we process it in our facility at the landfill to make it usable for Anheuser-Busch. We then pipe it in our pipeline to Anheuser-Busch, and at the end of that pipeline, Anheuser-Busch takes the title to that gas and uses it in their facility.”
Houston Plant Manager Steve Ghiglieri says Anheuser-Busch has long been an environmental leader in using available resources like bio-energy recovery.
“When you look at the water conservation efforts, we have this landfill gas project and the BERS project we have already operating here, the reduction of our carbon footprint, it really is happening at the brewery. I would hope that that is seen as a good corporate citizen. It’s also good for us too.”
I asked him if the process would change the taste of an ice cold Bud.
“No, because the natural gas we use here at the brewery really goes to generating steam that we use for the process. It’s a bit of an indirect; it never is in contact with the product. All we had to look at was what was the BTU value per cubic meter, cubic yard, of gas delivered. That was our only technical question we had about that, as well as supply—long term supply.”
The supply is more than enough to fulfill the 20-year agreement. Mitch Noto manages the 6-landfills owned by Allied Waste Services. He says the McCarty facility will provide biogas to the brewery by the end of the year.
“Landfill gas has been converted to high BTU and medium BTU gas for several years now, but I think people are getting better at, and I think more places are able to receive that gas, where they can do some type of conversion at the receiving end, and then they can take the gas and use it in place of fossil fuels.”
Carl Petley directs the environmental effort in Houston. He says by displacing fossil fuels at the Brewery, the net effect is a positive impact on emissions.
“Projects like this are a huge step in that direction, because not only are they looking at using the renewable source of energy, but they’re going to be implementing energy efficiency measures, so that they use less energy. So, this is a huge step forward for the city of Houston. Anheuser- Busch is serving as a role model for other businesses, industries and governments in this region about what they can do to minimize waste and use energy more responsibly.”
Pat Hernandez, KUHF…Huston Public Radio News.