Anheuser-Busch (“A-B”), the largest brewer in the USA and owners of Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois, Beck’s and other beer brands, has placed an order for 800 Hydrogen-Fuel-Cell EV trucks (“FCEV”) with US manufacturer, Nikola, to be delivered by 2020.
The order is the first step in a transition to a 100% renewable energy long-haul fleet, to be completed by 2025. Michel Doukeris, CEO of A-B, said that the company would “continuously searchsustainability across our entire value chain and drive our industry forward.”
The hydrogen would provide for ways to improve “zero-emission capabilities” for transport, he said.
A-B has already reduced carbon emissions across its brewing operations by 30% in the last 10 years and will use 100% renewable energy in brewing production by the end of 2018. It plans to further reduce corporate emissions by another 25% in the next 8 years.
As industrial production emissions are reduced, vehicle fleets become increasingly large emitters, proportionally, and are a logical step in the journey to zero-emissions beer.
If light vehicles are converted to EVs too, then A-B can achieve zero emissions from transport. If A-B’s suppliers and distributors are required to follow the same path, A-B’s beers can achieve zero emissions per Litre, apart from the bubbles.
Nikola CEO, Trevor Milton, said that the trucks would access an anticipated network of 700 Hydrogen stations across USA & Canada by 2028.
He noted that Nikola had already attracted USD 9b in orders for their Hydrogen
FCEV trucks and would be building trucks (and infrastructure) to order, rather than to speculation. “Hydrogen- electric technology is the future of logistics and we’re proud to be leading the way”, he said.
The supporting network of Hydrogen infrastructure across North America will be funded, constructed and operated by Nikola and their sub-contractors.
Hydrogen is free for the first 1 million miles per Nikola truck but non-Nikola trucks/vehicles will also be able to access the infrastructure at a fee per kg of Hydrogen.
The initial delivery in 2020 of Hydrogen trucks to A-B will be supported by a custom-located network of 28 Hydrogen refuelling stations.
Hydrogen will be produced by electrolysers located alongside the Hydrogen pumps. Electrolysers will be powered by renewable electricity from PV and wind, to align with the zero emissions strategy.
Nikola trucks will be leased to A-B for USD 90 cents per mile, including Hydrogen.
Nikola’s trucks have impressive technical specifications compared to diesel, with faster acceleration, more load carrying capacity, better range (up to 1200 miles per tank), similar refuelling time, better braking and less noise.
Anheuser-Busch also owns Carlton United Breweries (“CUB”) in Australia, which produces many of Australia’s beer brands including Pure Blonde and VB, Beez Neez, Cascade, Crown, the Yak range, Foster’s, Great Northern, Melbourne Bitter.
CUB has already followed A-B’s lead on 100 per cent renewable electricity, and has contract for a 112MW solar plant, and has plans to ensure it has enough installed on site to meet its target within 12 months.
Bede Doherty is an independent consultant in climate change mitigation, specialising in transport including fuels/powertrains, fuelling infrastructure and emissions.