A Scottish power plant at Rothes in Speyside has been awarded a contract to build a biomass combined heating and power plant there by 2013. The new plant will use the whisky by-products to transform local whisky distilleries leftovers from whisky processing and turn them into pure bioenergy.
The by-product of whisky products is called “draff,” and consists of the spent grains left over after the distilling process, and pot ale, which is a residue from the copper stills. Previously these products had been transported off-site for disposal, but now it will be burned along with wood chips and used to generate electricity. The project is a joint effort between the Helius Energy company and the Combination of Rothes Distellers.
The leftover pot ale won’t go to waste either, as it will be made into a concentrated organic fertilizer and an animal feed for use by local farmers.
The venture is part of Scotland’s green energy pledge, as SNP leader, Alex Salmond, has promised to make 100 percent of Scotland’s electricity come from renewable energy by 2020. The £50m Rothes project is not the only bioenergy venture derived from the Scotch whisky industry, but it is thought to be the very first to produce and provide electricity for use by the general public use.
Scientists at Napier University have also developed a way to turn whisky by-products into a type of biofuel that may be able to power cars and aircraft in the next few years.