Case study - Chivas Brothers Energy Efficiency
01 Dec 2012
Chivas Brothers is the Scotch Whisky and premium gin business of
Pernod Ricard. The company produces, exports, and markets some of
the world's best known Scotch Whisky malts and blends, including
Chivas Regal, Ballantine's, The Glenlivet and Royal Salute.
Chivas Brothers is committed to continually improving the energy
efficiency of its malt whisky distilleries by adapting and
improving the technologies used around the distillation process.
The current programme of plant upgrades and refurbishments is
delivering significant reductions in steam energy demand by
installing thermo-compression units on its wash stills.
The improvements form part of a wider and long-running energy
strategy to reduce demand by taking an integrated approach to heat
recovery. The first generation of technologies concentrated on
three main components:
- Hot water and flash steam recovery to preheat still charges and
- Installation of thermo-compressors on wash stills
- Use of excess low-grade heat to produce animal feed by the
evaporation of pot ale
All three of these techniques have been in place at Chivas'
Aberlour distillery for over 25 years.
Thermo-compression units are designed to convert low pressure
steam from the flash vessel and hot condenser to a higher pressure
to allow reuse for heating purposes. The technology is able to
reduce steam demand to a wash still by at least 40%.
Thermo-compressors are a known technology but are only
appropriate in certain distilleries, such as those running hot
condensers. The technology may not be practicable at sites with
space restrictions, horizontal condenser configurations, or cool
condenser technology, such as worm tubs.
Chivas Brothers undertook a careful analysis of its sites and
the suitability of thermo-compressors, to guard spirit quality
before implementing its rolling programme to retrofit the
technology at some of its distilleries with existing heat recovery
systems - a programme in place since 2005. The technology was
included in Chivas' expansion of The Glenlivet distillery in 2009,
where the new still house uses 20% less energy than the existing
part of the site. Benchmarking of distillery performance has
confirmed these savings. All distilleries employing
thermo-compressors now use between 10% and 20% less energy per unit
of alcohol than would be expected for their size category.
The actual carbon savings vary by distillery size and fuel type.
For example, in distilleries within at least six stills, average
annual reductions of 1,750 and 2,000 tonnes of CO2 have been
achieved, for gas and oil fuelled sites respectively.
Chivas Brothers views energy efficiency as a continuous process
of improvement, with further work planned to review emerging
technologies and pilot the potential application of
thermo-compressors to spirit stills.