Scottish distillery to utilize biomass power

By Susanne Retka Schill
Scottish distillery Diageo PLC received the go-ahead from a local planning authority for a $100 million bioenergy plant that will generate energy from byproducts produced at its Cameron Bridge Distillery in Fife, Scotland.

Construction was expected to begin by the end of 2008 with completion scheduled for the fall of 2010. The facility will be built by energy company Dalkia PLC, after which ownership will be transferred to Diageo while Dalkia continues to operate the facility. Dalkia is part of the French-owned environmental services company Veolia Environment.

Approximately 90,000 tons of waste products per year will be used to generate 5.5 megawatts of electricity. Biomass removed from the distillery effluent-a mixture of wheat, malted barley, yeast and water-will be burned to generate heat and energy for the distillery. The remaining water will be treated in an anaerobic digester to produce biogas for energy. The project is expected to generate approximately 80 percent of the electricity and 98 percent of the steam needed to run the distillery, and clean up the effluent discharge from the production process.

Diageo, which makes Johnnie Walker among other brands, produces approximately 100 million liters of whisky at the Fife distillery each year. The company said the use of the biomass plant to generate energy would reduce the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of 44,000 cars each year. "The bioenergy facility will harness a variety of green technologies in a project of unprecedented scale in our industry," said Bryan Donaghey, managing director of Diageo Scotland. "It is without question the right way forward in terms of Diageo's environmental ambitions. It also secures the long-term sustainability of our operation at Cameron Bridge, moving the site away from reliance on fossil fuels."