Bioenergy Plans Made at Scottish Distillery

Plans for a pioneering bioenergy facility at Scotland’s largest distillery, Cameronbridge in Fife, have been outlined by beverage conglomerate Diageo. The company, which makes Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, has signed a partnership agreement with energy management company, Dalkia, to create a new biomass CHP facility at the Fife site. The proposed project, which is subject to planning approval, will provide 98% of the thermal and 80% of electrical demand used at the distillery.

Costing approximately £65 million [US $130 million], the planned development will integrate anaerobic digestion and biomass conversion on a commercial scale. The plant will use “spent wash” — a mixture of wheat, malted barley, yeast and water produced during distillation — which will be separated into liquid and dried solids. The liquid is then converted, via anaerobic digestion, into biogas and the dried solids form a biomass fuel source.

Around 90,000 tons of co-products, which would have required transport off-site by road, will be turned into bioenergy in the form of electricity and steam for use at the distillery. The facility will also recover almost a third of the site’s water requirements. It is believed to be the largest single investment in renewable technology by a non-utility company in the UK. Dalkia will construct the facility over the next two years and it will then transfer the facility to Diageo under a finance lease arrangement, while continuing to manage it.

“This will be a showcase bioenergy facility which harnesses a variety of green technologies in a project of an unprecedented scale in our industry,” said Bryan Donaghey, managing director of Diageo Scotland.

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