People in Namibia, like in many other countries, enjoy drinking beer. The brewing process is largely dependent on thermal energy, which is estimated to be 70% of the total energy consumed by a brewery. The AB InBev brewery in Okahandja in Namibia relies on very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) to generate the thermal energy for the brewing process. Fuel oil is not environmentally friendly and expensive.
As Namibia is prone to lasting droughts and inconsistent rainfall patterns, conventional parabolic trough systems, which require regular cleaning with water for efficient functioning, are not an option.
Namibia has an average of 9.9 hours of sunlight per day. This is ideal for generating energy from solar technologies. The HELIOtube, an innovative inflatable tube-shaped collector, generates emission-free solar thermal energy and the technology will be used to produce steam for the brewing process in Okahandja. Unlike competing systems, which must be cleaned with water, the HELIOtube is cleaned mainly with compressed air, making it highly suited to arid regions.
The solar field will replace the use of fossil fuels with emission-free solar thermal energy, which will significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Following successful implementation, other AB InBev breweries may also use the HELIOtube to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The technology is also used for other mid-temperature industrial applications which are technically and commercially difficult to decarbonize.