Scotch Whisky By-Product to Fuel Power Plant

Scotch drinkers who care for the climate will soon relish their tipple in the knowledge it is providing clean renewable power in the home of whiskey.

Scottish authorities have given planning permission for a consortium of distillers to build a biomass-fuelled combined heat and power plant near the heart of the whisky industry in Speyside in northeastern Scotland.

Helius Energy said on Wednesday it and the Combination of Rothes Distillers Ltd. would build the plant, which would use distillery by-products and wood chips to generate 7.2 megawatts of electricity, enough for about 9,000 homes, and heat.

"Not only will it generate renewable heat and power, but it secures additional markets for our distillery co-products," Frank Burns, general manager of the Combination of Rothes, said.

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It is yet to be decided if the heat and power are to be used at the site for the distillers or by the local community and business. Electricity might be fed into Britain's National Grid.

The Combination of Rothes Distillers includes The Edrington Group, producer of The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark, Chivas Brothers, producer of Chivas Regal, Glen Grant Distillery Ltd, Inver House Distillers, Diageo and Benriach Distillery Co.

The GreenSwitch plant, to be built north of Rothes, about 40 miles east of Inverness, requires investment of around $50 million. Construction will start in the third quarter of this year for completion 18 to 24 months later.

It would use draff, solid grain product removed from the mash tun prior to fermentation, and pot ale, the liquid high-protein residue from a still.

As part of the project, they are to add a plant that would turn pot ale into concentrated organic fertilizer for local farmers.