Anheuser-Busch, the top U.S. beer seller, said today it will begin using landfill gas to help power its massive Houston brewery in a move designed to lower its soaring energy costs and keep beer prices from climbing higher.
The St. Louis-based brewer will use the landfill gas to help run boilers that today are fueled by natural gas.
When the landfill gas begins flowing into the plant later this year, about 70 percent of the brewery's energy needs will be met by renewable fuels, Anheuser-Busch officials said today during a Houston news conference announcing the initiative.
"It's going to help us keep beer affordable," said Doug Muhleman, group vice president of brewing operations and technology at Anheuser-Busch.
The beer maker will purchase the gas from Framingham, Mass-based energy firm Ameresco, which has a partnership with Houston landfill operator Allied Waste Services.
The Houston brewery, the company's second-largest behind its flagship plant in St. Louis, will receive the gas via a six-mile pipeline into the plant from Allied's McCarty Road landfill in east Houston. Still under construction, the pipeline will be completed later this year, the companies said.
Other landfill operators, including Houston's Waste Management, have launched similar efforts to harvest and sell methane gas created by decomposing organic material in trash dumps. In addition to providing alternative energy, the practice reduces emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas.