Diageo whiskey factory turns waste into renewable heat

Global drinks firm Diageo will generate 2 million cubic metres of biogas a year from its whiskey factory in Scotland thanks to a new anaerobic digestion plant.

Diageo’s plant is expected to produce around 8,000MW hours of energy

Diageo’s plant is expected to produce around 8,000MW hours of energy

Thy system, designed by Clearfleau, converts waste outputs from the whiskey distillation process - known as pot-ale and draff - into biogas which then generates renewable heat.

The plant at Diageo’s Glendullan factory is expected to produce around 8,000MW hours of thermal energy, which is then used in the distillation process. The system also reduces waste disposal costs.

Scottish Office Minister Lord Dunlop, who visited the facility last week, said: “The commitment to powering distilleries like Glendullan with sustainable energy, recycled from the co-products of the whisky-making process, is also exactly the right thing to do. Good for the planet, good for the whisky industry and good for the Scottish economy.”#

Policy support

This is the second time Diageo has used Clearfleau technology in one of it plants, after installing another Anaerobic Digester in its Dailuaine malt distillery in 2013.

However Clearfleau spokesperson Craig Chapman warned that projects such as these might be in danger without continued Government support.

He said: “This project shows how British technology can enable a traditional but energy intensive Scottish business sector to embrace the circular economy, reduce its costs and create a more sustainable basis for production.

“However, wider adoption of this technology requires on-going support for renewable energy.  The Scottish and British Government should be working together to support the development of indigenous renewables technologies and their adoption in a range of industry sectors, helping to deliver our long-term sustainability targets.”  

Earlier this week, Diageo, which also owns Smirnoff, Johnny Walker and Guiness, released its 2014 sustainability report, claiming to have saved almost 3 billion litres of water over the last year.

The company also cut carbon emissions by 9% thanks to the “cumulative impacts of multiple energy efficiency initiatives and switches to renewable fuels, predominately biogas recovery and reuse.”

Brad Allen


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