The contracts have been signed, and the plan is set – by 2013 Rothes, Speyside, Scotland will be home to a new bioenergy venture that will turn whiskey into power. The region boats over 50 distilleries, making it the perfect base for the plant, called the Rothes Project. Using wood chips and waste from the distilling process, the new plant, a venture by Helius Energy and the Combination of Rothes Distillers, will produce enough energy to power 9,000 homes.
The by-products of the distilling process – called draff, are used grains and pot ale (residue from copper stills) – will power the plant. The new power plant will recycle the draff into electricity, by burning it with woodchips. Some conservationists are concerned because some of the woodchips will be trucked in, but the project calls for as many locally sourced woodchips as possible.
The waste pot ale, an organic product, will be concentrated and made into an organic fertilizer that can be used on crops by local farmers, as well as an animal feed. Before this innovative new project, distillery waste was merely dumped off site in landfills.
The £40 milllion, 7.2 megawatt plant will produce as much power as two wind turbines, and is part of Scotland’s green energy pledge to use 100% renewable energy by 2020. Studies are also being conducted to convert the distillery waste further into biofuel to power cars.
Familiar booze brands like Glenlivet, Chivas Regal and Macallan are just a few of the 16 distilleries whose waste grains will be burned at the new plant. The Rothes Project takes one of Scotland’s traditional and most profitable industries and makes it profitable for the planet.
+ Helius Energy
Via Green Ecopath