Case Study - The North British Distillery

01 Dec 2010

Key objectives were identified as critical to the future sustainability of distillery
operations; to reduce the energy profile of the business and to reduce the environmental footprint and impact of spirit production.

The project will be managed in a staged approach that will require each stage to
be verified on its technical capability and efficiency of operation before proceeding
to the next. Subsequent stages will only be progressed where clear future economic benefits can be identified.

Stage one involves the installation of an anaerobic digester to convert evaporator
condensate from the distillers dark grains process, grey water and spent wash centrate into biogas. A dedicated biogas boiler will burn the gas to produce process steam. Stage two will see the expansion of the new anaerobic digestion plant and the installation of a new water treatment plant (WTP) to process effluent from the digester. The WTP will improve effluent quality and provide clean water which can be recycled back into the process. The final stage will involve the installation of a gas engine derived combined heat and power (CHP) plant to produce electricity from the biogas.

The project seeks to produce up to 1MWe of renewable electrical energy, save 1MWe through less intensive energy use of the existing evaporation plant and recycle 40% of the effluent produced by the distillery back into the process. Implementation of the project will reduce CO2 emissions by 9000 tonnes per year (equivalent to driving around the world 1415 times).

The distillery's aspiration is to expand its anaerobic digestion and electrical generation capacity to 3MWe so that it will be a nonimporter of electrical energy.