Powering a beloved brand of beer with regional, renewable energy
Germany’s Rothaus brewery uses woodchips from the surrounding Black Forest to fill 70% of its energy needs and guarantee long-term supply.
A beloved brewery goes green
The brewery needed to boost efficiency and improve supply predictability. The solution: a renewable biomass system planned, installed and operated by Bosch.
Energy produced: 12,000 MWh heat/year
Energy costs: -25%
CO₂: -3,300 tons/year
Baden State Brewery Rothaus and Bosch Energy and Building Solutions.
Beer is a high-energy product
That’s one of the key challenges Christian Rasch, Managing Director of Baden State Brewery Rothaus, faces in his daily business.
Located in the heart of the Black Forest, 3,300 feet above sea level, Rothaus is one of Germany’s most successful regional breweries. In business since 1791, the company is best-known for its “Tannenzäpfle” pilsner with the iconic pine cone logo.
To achieve the desired flavor and texture, beer ingredients have to be cooked for hours, and energy requirements vary constantly during the brewing process. What’s more, apart from producing 840,000 hectoliters of beer a year, the brewery also operates offices, a shop, a restaurant and a small hotel.
Rothaus needed a modern energy-supply concept that built on its history of environmental conservation while boosting efficiency and predictability in the face of rising energy costs. They chose an innovation partner who could also draw on decades of experience as a manufacturer: Bosch.
The Bosch team and Rothaus came up with a perfect concept for long-term efficiency gains: a state-of-the-art automated biomass boiler system that delivers the heat energy and steam needed for brewing, bottle washing and beyond. Instead of heating oil, the system uses woodchips from the surrounding Black Forest – a renewable, locally-sourced, CO₂-neutral fuel that is available year-round.
Fully automated to control heat and air supply in real time as energy requirements shift, the biomass system supplies up to 4,5 tons of saturated steam per hour at a pressure of 7 bar. And although Rothaus’ previously existing oil boilers still spring into action temporarily during peak times, the brewery has been able to save 1.2 million liters of heating oil per year since installing the Bosch system.
A one-stop-shop partner
Rothaus benefits from Bosch’s integrated approach: All parts are perfectly coordinated to save costs and free up resources for the brewery’s core business.
Operation & fuel supply
Tim Otterbeck, Sales Projects
“ We operate and continuously optimize the system, and we handle the supply contracts with the local forestry service. ”
Installation & commissioning
Benjamin Focke, Sales Projects Energy Services
“ We set up an agile roadmap to get the system up and running without disrupting the regular production process. ”
Planning & financing
Tim Otterbeck, Sales Projects
“ We have developed a solution that works in harmony with the local economy and environment while maximizing energy efficiency. ”
Today, Rothaus isn’t only one of the most profitable regional breweries, it's also one of the most sustainable, consuming energy far below industry average.
Regional fuel supply
Woodchips are locally sourced and available year-round through the Bosch network. Local production supports the regional value chain and ensures short transportation routes.
The brewery’s CO₂ footprint was reduced by about 3,300 tons a year. For scale: If these emissions were released into the atmosphere, it would take a forest of 265,000 birch trees to absorb them.
The biomass system delivers about 12,000 MWh of energy per year. That’s 70% of the total energy needed for production, operation and administration.
Despite a relatively small investment, Rothaus was able to slash energy costs by 20% by significantly reducing heating oil consumption.