AstraZeneca to build renewable energy plant in East Anglia in 2023
AstraZeneca’s UK sites in Cambridge, Macclesfield, Speke and Luton will be powered by a new renewable energy plant generating biomethane following a new partnership with clean energy company Future Biogas.
AstraZeneca’s Ambition Zero Carbon commitment to be zero carbon by 2025 identifies that heat and power are critical to the manufacture of medicines and therefore decarbonising the healthcare supply chain depends on access to clean sources of heat. The Future Biogas initiative will provide additional renewable gas to the UK gas grid as the pharma giant transitions to 100 per cent renewable energy for heat and power across its operations by the end of 2025 and carbon negative by 2030.
Under the agreement, Future Biogas will build a new biomethane plant in East Anglia, adding renewable energy capacity to existing UK infrastructure. The plant will have the capacity to provide up to 125 Gigawatt hours of biomethane, equivalent to the energy demand to heat more than 9,000 homes. Construction will begin in 2023.
Juliette White, vice president global SHE & operations sustainability, at AstraZeneca, said: “At AstraZeneca, we are committed to operating in a responsible way that recognises the interconnection between the needs of patients, society and the limitations of our planet.
“We’re proud to be working in partnership with innovative organisations like Future Biogas to enable the sustainable discovery, development and manufacture of medicines and vaccines. Through such collaborations, we’re making progress on our ambition to become carbon zero across our operations by the end of 2025 and carbon negative across our value chain by 2030.”
Future Biogas is one of the UK’s largest biogas producers which currently operates 10 biogas plants. Philipp Lukas, CEO of Future Biogas, commented: “Future Biogas is delighted to be working with AstraZeneca on this ground-breaking green energy solution. AstraZeneca set themselves a very ambitious and challenging net zero target which sets a benchmark for their sector as well as global corporates more widely. We are proud to be able to help on this journey.”
Biogas is produced by the fermentation of organic matter in anaerobic digestion tanks. Biomethane is biogas from which the by-product carbon dioxide has been removed, giving the biomethane the same properties as natural gas, and enabling it to be injected into the national gas grid.
Through the partnership with Future Biogas, AstraZeneca will access high quality bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) through the Northern Lights partnership in Norway, a joint venture supported by the Norwegian Government. Carbon dioxide generated through the Future Biogas plant will be captured and transported to the Northern Lights storage facility, where it will be permanently sequestered 2.6km under the seabed. As a result, biomethane production has the potential to be not just net zero but net negative – the new plant will utilise crops grown locally to the site, supporting the rural economy.
Alongside clean heat and power, to achieve its net zero goal, AstraZeneca will transition to 100 per cent electric vehicles, 100 per cent renewable electricity, and launch next-generation respiratory inhalers.