Biomass, Cogeneration CHP, On Site Renewables

Bioenergy plans at Scots distillery

Plans for a bioenergy facility at Scotland’s largest distillery, Cameronbridge in Fife, have been outlined by the drinks group Diageo.

The company, which makes Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff among others, has signed a partnership agreement with energy management company, Dalkia, to create a new biomass CHP facility at the Fife site. The proposed project, which is subject to planning approval, will provide 98% of the thermal and 80% of electrical demand used at the distillery.

Costing approximately £65 million (US$130 million), the planned development will integrate anaerobic digestion and biomass conversion on a commercial scale. The plant will use ‘spent wash’ – a mixture of wheat, malted barley, yeast and water produced during distillation – which will be separated into liquid and dried solids. The liquid is then converted, via anaerobic digestion, into biogas and the dried solids form a biomass fuel source.

Around 90,000 tonnes of co-products, which would have required transport off-site by road, will be turned into bioenergy in the form of electricity and steam for use at the distillery. The facility will also recover almost a third of the site’s water requirements.

It is believed to be the largest single investment in renewable technology by a non-utility company in the UK.

Dalkia will construct the facility over the next two years and it will then transfer to Diageo under a finance lease arrangement, while continuing to be managed by Dalkia.

Bryan Donaghey, managing director, Diageo Scotland commented: ‘This will be a showcase bioenergy facility which harnesses a variety of green technologies in a project of an unprecedented scale in our industry.’