Pilot for enviRonmEntally FRiendly, Efficient, Sustainable and Healthy products development



During the brewing process, large amounts of by-products are generated. One of these by-products generated is brewers’ spent grain, representing as much as 85% of the total by-product generation. It consists of the residue of malt and grain which remains in the mash-kettle after the mashing and lautering process. Due to its high nutritional value, brewers’ spent grain is an attractive resource. However, to date its industrial utilization is very limited and its main application is mainly focused on animal feed. By developing alternative uses of spent grain, we strive to build a more sustainable brewing process. 


Project objectives

As part of our Dream to create a better world, we want to contribute to a more circular economy, in which the so-called ‘waste streams’ are turned into a resource and recovery of material occurs at large scale. In order to fully exploit all resources to create a more sustainable brewing process, the LIFE REFRESHMENT project aims to:


  • Explore alternative uses of brewers’ spent grains to develop innovative processes and technologies which increase the resource efficiency and reduce food waste throughout the food chain,
  • Produce food beverage products by using the main by-product of brewing, brewers’ spent grain.



Expected results

With this project we first of all demonstrate the viability of the production process of drinks from brewers’ spent grains.

In a second phase, by achieving a full industrial scale during the duration of the project:

  • the resource efficiency will be increased by re-use of 42,000 ton of brewers’ spent grains from 2 breweries,


  • the CO2 emission will be reduced with 14,472 ton by re-usal of 42,000 ton of brewers’ spent grain on site,


  • the water usage efficiency will be increased in cereal-based beverage industry with 50 to 75%.


Open Tender

With project Biodiversity we plan to install a new cold block in the Research Pilot Brewery in Leuven, which includes fermentation and maturation tanks, Kieselguhr filters, a pasteurizer, a CIP-station, waste-water treatment, sterile filters etc. on a very small area (+/- 50m²). In this new cold block technologies will be tested and developed to reduce carbon footprint, energy and water usage through the re-use of by-products of the brewing process. All these efforts are done in order to contribute to a more circular economy, an idea that fits perfectly in AB- InBev’s ‘Better World’ vision.

If you are a supplier of above mentioned equipment and interested in preparing an offer for the whole project, please contact Jorge Gil-Martinez ([email protected]) or Douwe Wittebrood ([email protected])  before 05/07/17 and refer to this site



LIFE a funding instrument of the EU which supports the environment and climate action. The objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, update and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects which add value to Europe. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed more than 4,300 projects.

In 2015 the European Commission approved the co-financing of AB-InBev’s REFRESHMENT project. 



Contact person: Thomas Monin ([email protected])


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