A new type of biomass plant opening in Speyside, Scotland, is going to begin powering homes with a byproduct of scotch whiskey. Over the next two years, the new form of alternative energy will be sufficient enough to power 9000 homes in the Scottish region.
Biomass power from whiskey
What normally would be a great drink by the fireside will soon be providing heat for your home in another way. The plant will work by burning used grains from the distilling process (called dfaff) along with woodchips to generate 7.2MW of power. The biomass plant is being built as part of a cooperation between Helius Energy and the Combination of Rothes Distilleries, including famous whisey distillers such as Glenlivet, Chivas Regal, Famous Grouse and Macallan.
This story may sound familiar – the whiskey powered biomass plant was actually announced back in 2009, but the contracts have only been finalized now. Either way, look for whiskey powered homes to be coming to the Scots in the very near future.
Zero waste process
Along with the used grains (or draff) being burned up after the whiskey is made, the whiskey makers have found a way to make use of the pot ale – another byproduct of the whiskey making process that otherwise turns to waste. Rather than disposing of the pot ale traditionally, it will be made into an organic fertilizer, which will be used by farmers in the area.
The waste won’t only be coming from a few distilleries. As many scotch whiskey makers run their business from the Speyside area, 16 of the 50 distilleries in the region will be disposing of their waste in this eco-friendly way.
What is Biomass?
If you’re asking yourself, “What is biomass?”, watch the video below, created by Colorado Springs Utlities (not involved with the Scotland whiskey biomass project), which is a great explanation of how biomass energy works, and what its environmental and economical cost benefits are.