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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.

Whisky for the Environment

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: energy, biomass, biogas, sustainable business, Scotland, whiskey, whisky, animal feed, GMO, environment, waste reduction, Guardian, London Press Service, Inhabitat, Keith Goetzman,

Distillery or power plant? 

Whisky fuels lots of things—rebellions, country and western songs, and Shane MacGowan, to name just a few. Now it’s going to power 9,000 homes in Scotland.

More specifically, whisky byproducts are going to power the homes, in the distillery-rich region of Speyside, by helping to fuel a local biomass energy plant.

“Waste products from around 16 of the area’s 50 distilleries will be used at the site, including well-known brands such as Glenlivet, Chivas Regal, Macallan, and Famous Grouse,” the Guardian reports.

Spent grains from the whisky distilling process, known as draff, will be burned along with wood to create electricity at the combined heat and power (CHP) plant. Another byproduct, a high-protein liquid residue called pot ale, will be made into a syrup for animal feed—which will be conveniently made at a plant next door.

Construction of the biomass plant is set to begin soon, the London Press Service reported last month, and it should be up and running by early 2013.

The Scots aren’t the only whisky makers who are seriously thinking green. On this side of the pond (where we spell it with an “e,” thank you), fine bourbon whiskey distiller Maker’s Mark has made waves with its sustainability initiatives, which according to Inhabitat include biogas reuse, aggressive waste reduction, an on-site nature preserve, and a mostly local, no-GMO grain supply chain.

(Thanks, World Rivers Review.)

Sources: The Guardian, London Press Service, Inhabitat 

Image by yvescosentino, licensed under Creative Commons.