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Plans submitted for £10m carbon-neutral rum distillery

Entrepreneur Matthew Clifford has submitted plans to build a new £10 million (US$13m) carbon-neutral rum distillery and visitor centre in Cornwall, which will be powered by geothermal energy.

The geothermal-powered distillery project includes a Eden-style biome

Former offshore helicopter pilot Clifford has founded the Cornish Geothermal Distillery Company (CGDC). He has submitted plans to the Cornwall Council for a new 100% sustainable rum cask maturation facility, visitor centre, cooperage and geothermal energy centre.

The ‘ultra-high-tech’ Eden Project-style biome will include Clifford’s patent-pending carbon-neutral rum cask maturation pods. It has the ability to hold up to 3,600 casks of rum for around five to 10 years as the spirit matures.

The biome can accurately recreate the temperature and humidity profiles found around the world, including tropical, desert or the colder northern hemisphere. The dedicated site using this controlled and technological method is thought to be a world first.

The plans have been submitted following CGDC’s investment of more £150,000 (US$199,000) on probing pieces of land in the United Downs area, including motor racing track the United Downs Raceway.

Clifford has worked with Geothermal Engineering, based at United Downs in Cornwall’s historic mining hub, and other local partners, on the development. The site will use heat from Geothermal Engineering’s United Downs Deep Geothermal Power Project, the UK’s first geothermal power project.

As part of the project, Geothermal Engineering’s team has drilled more than 5km into the granite bedrock to use the deep geothermal heat as renewable electricity in 2022.

“We’ve been working on our deep geothermal distillery project for the last two years and it is hugely exciting to finally share our plans for this initial ‘catalyst’ stage,” said Clifford. “We aim to combine our absolute passion for rum with much-needed investment and quality full-time jobs in this part of Cornwall, utilising local skills and businesses.

“We will be sharing our vision with the communities close to United Downs, so that they have the opportunity to give us their thoughts and impart local knowledge, which will be invaluable to this project.”

The project is expected to create around 30 jobs.

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