Biomass Plant To Be Fueled by Whisky Byproducts

Helius Energy Plc and The Combination of Rothes Distillers (CoRD) have announced the creation of a joint venture called Helius CoRDe, which will build and operate a renewable energy plant which will reduce the carbon footprint of the whisky industry in the Speyside region of Scotland.

The proposed £50 million [US $81.2 million] project will use whisky distillery by-products to fuel a 7.2-megawatt (MW) GreenSwitch biomass combined heat and power plant and a GreenFields plant which will turn the liquid co-product of whisky production, known as Pot Ale, into a concentrated organic fertilizer and an animal feed for use by local farmers.

The CHP unit will use a combination of distillery co-products and wood chip from sustainable sources to generate 7.2 MW of electricity which can be used on-site or exported to the National Grid.

It is anticipated that engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the project will be awarded in the coming weeks, allowing construction to begin in early 2010, with around 2 years for construction and building, which is likely to generate 20-100 jobs.

Helius CoRDe builds on the ongoing cooperation between Helius Energy and CoRD. It will create a dedicated company which will be responsible for the financing, construction and operation of the new plant.

“This agreement formalizes the work we have undertaken so far and sets out the structure for us to take this project forward to completion. The ability to generate renewable heat and power and secure additional markets for our distillery co-products is a very exciting development for the malt whisky industry on Speyside,” said Frank Burns, general manager of CoRD.

Though it was still in the planning phase at the time, the project won Best Environmental Initiative at the Scottish Green Energy Awards in December 2008 and could save more than 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year when compared to CoRD’s current energy use.

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