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Balmenach Distillery gets £3m sustainability investment

Inver House Distillers has started work on a £3 million biogas project for Balmenach, which it claims will make the site “one of Scotland’s greenest distilleries”.

The Balmenach Distillery’s new biogas project will make it “one of Scotland’s greenest distilleries”

The project will “significantly reduce” the carbon footprint of Balmenach, home of the Caorunn Scottish gin brand.

The distillery’s owner, Inver House Distillers, has commissioned a new anaerobic digestion system, which uses microorganisms to break down waste products from whisky production, creating clean, methane-rich biogas that will be used to power the site.

Inver House Distillers managing director Martin Leonard said: “Inver House Distillers was an early champion of green distilling in Scotland, and sustainability and consideration for the environmental impact at each of our sites is at the heart of our business strategy.

“With this new investment at Balmenach we are using the very latest technology to further that commitment, working with the best partners in the business to help us achieve our environmental goals.”

The new technology will run alongside Balmenach’s existing wood-pellet biomass boiler. Once complete, the combined system will generate enough renewable energy to meet all of the distillery’s energy requirements and any surplus electrical energy will be fed back into the National Grid.

Once the new biogas project is operational in summer 2018, approximately 130 cubic metres of whisky co-products, such as pot ale and spent lees, will be processed through the system to create 2,000 cubic metres of biogas each day, supplying 200kw of power and 230kw of heat for the distillery.

The new system will also return clean water to the nearby burn as well as nutrient-rich bio-solids to the land for barley farming in the Speyside region.

Leonard added: “It’s an exciting step in our journey and one that we know is recognised and appreciated. We also hope this investment will demonstrate how low carbon manufacture and clean growth are achievable, regardless of the size, location or output of the production site.”

Balmenach, located near Grantown on Spey, is one of Inver House Distillers’ five malt whisky plants and is on track to produce 2m litres of whisky for the blended Scotch market next year.

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