Whisky residue to energy AD facility will lower Scottish distillery’s carbon footprint

UK anaerobic digestion specialist Clearfleau has started construction on a new biogas facility at a distillery in Scotland. Part of a £3 million project commissioned by Inver House Distillers, the new facility will generate energy in the form of methane-rich biogas from whisky residues.

Inver House’s distillery at Balmenach in rural Speyside is almost 200 years old, and has already installed a wood-pellet biomass boiler to lower its carbon footprint. According to a statement issued by Clearfleau, once the biogas project is completed in spring 2018 Balmenach will be one of the lowest carbon footprint distilleries in Scotland.

Clearfleau has already installed two plants on distillery plants in Scotland, with others being designed. Significantly, the Balmenach project is the smallest anaerobic digester the company has built to date, showing the viability of the technology across a range of different scales.

“Clearfleau is helping give Balmenach whisky a greener tinge - and giving an even warmer glow to people who enjoy drinking it,” said Craig Chapman, CEO of Clearfleau. “Once complete, the on-site biogas plant will provide a more sustainable solution for the distillery’s co-products, supplying renewable energy that will help reduce its power and other costs.”

When in operation, the Balmenach anaerobic digestion facility will treat about 130m3 of whisky co-products, including pot ale and spent lees, per day. Over 2000mper day of biogas will be fed to a combined heat and power engine, supplying 200kW of power and 230kW of heat for use in the operation of the distillery site.

Apart from energy, the only other outputs from the plant are cleansed water, which will be discharged into the nearby burn, and nutrient rich biosolids that can provide fertility for the barley grown in Speyside to make whisky.

Martin Leonard, managing director, Inverhouse Distillers, said: “Consideration for the environmental impact at each of our sites is at the heart of our business strategy. With this new investment at Balmenach we are using the very latest technology to further that commitment, working with the best partners in the business to help us achieve our environmental goals. We also hope this investment will demonstrate how low carbon manufacture and clean growth are achievable, regardless of the size, location or output of the production site.”

In 2018, Clearfleau will be building more plants on food and drink sites in Scotland and is now developing its unique technology into modular plant designs for more remote sites and export projects.


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