Plans to transform distillery by-products into renewable electricity, usable heat and organic soil conditioners was proposed by a couple ok UK companies. Following approval and order-placement, the plant would take 18 to 24 months to construct. This would be the first project to use draft and pot ale as a biomass fuel instead of wood.
Recently the Rothes consortium of whisky and scotch distillers (which include amongst their members the Edrington Group and Chivas Brothers) announced that they have partnered with Helius Enery to install a power plant fueled by whisky by-products! The power generation plant will cost around 24 million pounds and will be operational in around two years. It will be located at a distillery in the Moray Council area of Scotland.
The project is a biomass CHP plant (combined heat and power), which in and of itself would not be such a big deal, except for the fuel. Instead of wood, the plant will use a combination of draff and pot ale from the distillery well as wood chip from sustainable sources, to provide an impressive 7.2 megawatts of electricity - enough power for 9,000 homes. The plant will also provide heating and electricity for the distillery, with the rest being exported to the grid.
The CHP plant will replace the company current dependence on fossil fuels, saving an estimated 46,642 tons CO2 a year compared with an equivalent level of generating capacity from a coal fired station. They are also looking to encourage take up of heat from their plant through a community heating scheme. The scheme will also turn the liquid by-product of whisky production, known as Pot Ale, into a concentrated organic fertilizer for use by local farmers. The development will not only reduce the direct carbon emissions from the operation of the plant, but could also reduce the carbon footprint of local farming activity and the barley used in the malting process.