Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca aims to make its Luton site carbon negative

It will help to build a new renewable energy plant

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 12:21 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 12:22 am

AstraZeneca, which has an office in Luton, is partnering with clean energy company Future Biogas to build a new renewable energy plant to generate biomethane as a substitute for natural gas to provide a renewable source of heat and power for its UK sites.

It will provide additional renewable gas to the UK gas grid. Transitioning to 100% renewable energy for heat and power is core to AstraZeneca’s Ambition Zero Carbon commitment to be zero carbon 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. 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.

Alongside clean heat and power, to achieve its net zero goal, AstraZeneca will transition to 100% electric vehicles, 100% renewable electricity and launch next-generation respiratory inhalers.

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 end of 2025 and carbon negative across our value chain by 2030.”

Construction will begin in 2023 and the new plant will utilise crops grown locally, supporting the rural economy. Feedstock crops are integrated into farm rotations and are grown on farmland that already forms part of agricultural systems. Adding feedstocks grown for anaerobic digestion into the rotation offers farmers diverse cropping opportunities which enhances the sustainability of the farming sector and supports the circular economy in the UK. Crops will be grown with regenerative agriculture practices, promoting nutrient cycling through wider cropping rotations, minimising soil disturbance to limit carbon release from soils, and helping to build soil organic matter and soil health.

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.”