Whisky wastewater powers Scottish distillery

A distillery in Scotland is adding an advanced gas engine from GE that will run on whisky effluent.

William Grant & Sons -- makers of the single malt libation Glenfiddich -- will power one of its Scottish distilleries using an abundant, homegrown product: whisky wastewater (not be confused with the whiskey wastewater you might find in the U.S. or Ireland).

This isn't a new foray into alternative energy sources for the company. Over the past two years, William Grant has bought three Jenbacher gas engines from GE that operate on biogas created from the residual malt materials used in distillation to produce alcohol.

William Grant said today it was adding a fourth gas engine, which will generate 3 megawatts of additional power. The engine has the ability to run at excess of 43 percent electrical efficiency when it runs on biogas, according to GE. The engine's exhaust also will be reclaimed as thermal power to produce steam used in the distilling process.

The upshot?  The four engines will generate some 7 megawatts of electricity -- more than enough for the distillery to operate independent of the power grid. It plans to sell the excess electricity to the grid to offset costs and power local areas, according to a GE spokesman.

William Grant isn't the only company experimenting with whisky waste biogas. Bruichladdich's distillery off the west coast of Scotland uses an anaerobic digester to create biogas, which powers its entire facility.

Photo: Flickr user Intangible Arts, CC 2.0

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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