Distillery ramps up green credentials with of £3m biogas project

Balmenach make Caorunn Scottish Gin.
Balmenach make Caorunn Scottish Gin.
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One of Speyside’s oldest whisky distilleries will become one of Scotland’s greenest distilleries as well via a £3 million biogas project announced yesterday.

Balmenach, which is also the home of Caorunn Scottish Gin, said work had already started on the project, which will significantly reduce the distillery’s carbon footprint. The owner, Inver House Distillers, said it had commissioned a new anaerobic digestion 
system, which breaks down the co-products of whisky 
production using micro-organisms to produce clean, methane-rich biogas to 
power the site.

Located near Grantown on Spey, Balmenach’s new technology will integrate with the distillery’s existing wood-
pellet biomass boiler.

When complete, the combined system will generate enough steam and electricity to meet 100 per cent of the distillery’s energy requirements, with a surplus of electrical energy supplied to the grid.

Inver House Distillers, which runs five malt whisky plants, said the green project should be operating by summer 2018.

Group managing director Martin Leonard commented: “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.”

Synergie Environ, the 
Glasgow-based low carbon energy engineering company, is project managing the biogas installation.

Uisdean Fraser, managing director of Synergie Environ, said: “We have a long-established working relationship with Inver House Distillers and have worked hard with the management team over a number of years to help this exciting project come to fruition.”

Clearfleau, the specialist provider of on-site biogas plants for the food and drink industry, is working with Inver House to design and build the new system.

Balmenach is on track to produce some two million litres of whisky for the blended Scotch market in 2018. Inver House added that the distillery’s use of the green technologies would also significantly reduce heavy goods vehicle movements from its remote location in the Spey Valley.

It will also return water to the nearby burn, and nutrient rich bio-solids to the land for barley farming.