Green Distilleries: Energy Options & Considerations

A guide to options and considerations for fuel switching and on-site power production

Sustainable development drivers are providing a substantial driver to forward strategies of businesses in all sectors of the UK economy. In manufacturing and production industries, key issues include decarbonisation of direct operations, as well as up-stream and down-stream supply chains. This focus is well exemplified by the significant increase in decentralised energy generation, including power and heat generating technologies, which has been deployed across the UK.

Recent statistics released by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) estimated that whisky production has an annual carbon profile of around 530,000 tonnes of CO2 e. The bulk of this emission profile is from direct process heating of the distillation process, where gas and fuel oils predominate due to the off-grid nature of many distilleries.

In the spring 2020 budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announce a significant pot of funding to decarbonise the distillery sector. Further announcements have clarified that the funding provides the opportunity for initial feasibility and business plan work to be undertaken, ahead of further substantial funding being available to support demonstrator project development.

There is no single technology that can decarbonise the whisky sector and there are a range of factors and business considerations that need to be taken into account when selecting and appraising potential options. This guide provides an introduction to potentially suitable technologies, and also discusses the factors and considerations that need to be examined in understanding the technical feasibility and financial viability at a site or business level.

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