Clearfleau, a UK provider of on-site biogas plants for the food and beverage sector, has started work on its latest plant on a distillery for Inver House at Balmenach in rural Speyside.The Balmenach distillery, nearly 200 years old, has already installed a biomass boiler and when the biogas project is completed in early 2018 it is expected to be one of the lowest carbon footprint distilleries in Scotland.
Clearfleau has installed two plants on distillery sites in Scotland, with others in design.The Balmenach project is the smallest digester the company has built to date. The company believes this shows the technology can be viable at different scales.
Craig Chapman, CEO, Clearfleau, said, “Clearfleau is helping give Balmenach whisky a greener tinge – and giving an even warmer glow to people who enjoy drinking it!”
The Balmenach project will treat about 130m3 per day of whisky co-products (pot ale and spent lees). Over 2,000m3 per day of biogas will be fed to a combined heat and power engine and will supply 200kW of power and 230kW of heat for use in the operation of the distillery site.
It will be integrated with the existing biomass boiler that already supplies renewable heat to the distillery, transforming Balmenach into one of Scotland’s most energy-efficient distillery sites.
In addition to clean energy, the only other outputs from the plant are cleansed water, which will be discharged into the nearby burn, and nutrient rich bio-solids that can provide fertility for the barley grown in Speyside to make whisky.
The biogas project at Balmenach is being overseen through feasibility, planning, permitting and construction phases by Glasgow-based Synergie Environ.
“The Scottish Government’s enthusiasm for investment in clean energy generation is helping to stimulate interest in biogas on food and drink production sites with high energy demand. Our AD plants are cutting fossil fuel use, helping meet energy reduction targets cutting carbon emissions and offering an attractive return on investment,” Chapman concluded.