7-MW CHP Plant in Scotland To Be Fueled by Whisky Industry

An award-winning plan that could reduce the carbon footprint of the whisky industry in Speyside, Scotland has moved a step closer after being granted planning permission by Moray Council. The project is a joint development between Helius Energy plc and The Combination of Rothes Distillers Limited (CoRD) and will see the installation of a GreenSwitch biomass-fueled combined heat and power (CHP) plant at CoRD’s existing site to the north of Rothes.

The Helius CHP unit will use a combination of distillery co-products and wood chip from sustainable sources to generate 7.2 megawatts of electricity, which can be used on site or exported to the grid. As part of the project, a new GreenFields plant will be built alongside the GreenSwitch CHP unit and will turn the liquid co-product of whisky production, known as Pot Ale, into a concentrated organic fertilizer for use by local farmers.

“This is exciting news and allows us to proceed with this innovative project. Not only will it generate renewable heat and power, but it secures additional markets for our distillery co-products and helps to ensure the sustainability of malt whisky distilling on Speyside,” said Frank Burns, general manager of CoRD.

The plant, which represents an investment of approximately £35 million [US $48.2 million], is expected to take 18-24 months to construct and will be the first such project to use whisky by-products like draff and pot ale as a biomass fuel alongside wood. The project was awarded the “Best Environmental Initiative Award” at the Scottish Green Energy Awards 2008 in December.

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