Eddyline brewery in Nelson is working with a carbon capture expert from the us to address both a shortage of CO2 plaguing new zealand as well as improving its sustainability credentials.

The business is investing “hundreds of thousands” of dollars to install the technology developed by Earthly Labs, which will allow it to capture and reuse its carbon dioxide CO2 emissions.

It will be the first craft brewer in New Zealand to import the system, which is more commonly used in the US.

Breweries typically produce excess CO2 during fermentation that is not captured but rather vented into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Then they will buy fossil-fuel-derived CO2 for their production and packaging needs.

The technology keeps CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere and gives the brewery independence from outside supply chains. It is a significant investment for Eddyline, but is considered an important part of their sustainability focus. Although the original driver was to minimise their carbon footprint, the closure of the Marsden Point refinery in March and subsequent squeeze on domestic CO2 supply was the catalyst required to get the deal over the line.

“Eddyline has always sought to ensure its environmental footprint is as small as possible using sustainable processes. It is shameful to be producing CO2 that is usable, yet wasting it into the environment. Recapturing CO2 is a better way for the planet and creates superb beer too” co-founder Mic Heynekamp said in a press release.

“We have been looking for a solution for several years and had been in the process of designing our own system, when we learned of Earthly Labs’ recapturing unit. We knew this was going to be the perfect solution.

“CO2 is critical to the brewing industry and recent moves such as the closure of the Marsden refinery highlight how important it is for businesses to be forward-thinking. This investment, along with our centrifuge processes to reduce our water use, and soon-to-be installed solar panels, will ensure our carbon footprint is as minimal as possible.”

Earthly Labs has miniaturised the carbon capture technology that has long been reserved for large-scale brewers, making it affordable for smaller craft players like Eddyline, which produces around 200,000 litres of beer a year from the former Pic’s peanut butter building in Stoke, where it is based.

“Eddyline is an example of how small businesses can tackle the climate change challenge with practical solutions that deliver a compelling payback,” says Earthly Labs CEO Amy George.

“We are inspired by all the ways Eddyline is meeting their commitment to their community and the environment, making great beer, creating jobs, adding solar, saving water, and now recycling CO2. It is great to see them be the first New Zealand craft brewery among sustainability leaders in the world.”