THE first electricity to be generated from whisky waste will occur on Tuesday 1st March on the remote Hebridean island of Islay.
In a pioneering project at Bruichladdich Distillery, that has been for three years in gestation, a generator will be powered for the first time by biogas obtained from the anaerobic digestion of pot ale – one of the two waste streams created during the distillation of single malt whisky.
Says a spokesperson: “Up to now, the watery waste has been disposed of worthlessly. Now, it will be stripped of any organic matter by bespoke microbes, converted in to biogas, and run through the generator to create electricity to power the distillery.
“Draff, the other waste stream of spent barley, goes to feed the local Highland cattle.
“In another virtuous circle, slurry from these cattle fertilises the fields that grow the barley for the distillery.”
Said Mark Reynier, Bruichladdich’s MD: “Its not the launch of space shuttle Discovery but it certainly feels that exciting.
“We’ve been working with Biowayste on this for some time, ‘to boldly go…’, and at last the moment of truth has arrived.
“It’s a very neat solution, getting something from nothing. I’m looking forward to that moment of flicking the switch.”
The spokesperson added: “Previous attempts to harness whisky derived biogas have resulted in failure, even explosions.
“The project has been scoped to provide the total power requirement of the distillery including some vehicles, computers and distilling machinery and is being closely followed by the whisky industry which, if successful, will adopt the scheme Scotland-wide.”
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