Islay, the island with 9 distilleries burning 15 million litres of fuel oil every year but surrounded by some of the UK’s best tidal power resource (not to mention plenty of wind power). Time for a change?
Pale Blue Dot Energy have recently been awarded SMART: SCOTLAND funding from Scottish Enterprise to support the development of patent-pending technology, GreenStills.
GreenStills distils whisky with reduced energy load, lower carbon emissions and improved energy supply options.
The state-of-the-art technology is expected to reduce energy use in distillation by more than a third.
The UK’s 80% carbon reduction commitments by 2050 (as established in the 2008 Climate Change Act) present a major challenge to industries heavily dependent on oil and gas for fuel. Recognising the importance of the scotch whisky sector to Scotland and the significant fossil fuel based energy consumption of the distillation process itself, this technology will provide a huge step towards meeting this obligation.
GreenStills technology provides a step change in the efficiency of the pot still distillation process, moving away from steam and providing a means for effective integration of renewable energy for heating. The technology also enables energy storage, so that energy needs for distillation can be met with variable renewable energy generation.
The funding will be used to deliver a distillery trial to measure in practice the energy savings achievable and to optimise the concept for installation and operation.
Tim Dumenil, Energy Consultant, said “Centuries of heritage and stewardship have evolved distillation bringing together technical know-how and high quality raw materials all catalysed by large amounts of energy. A transformation in scotch pot distillation took place in the late 1960’s as distillers moved away from open coal fires under stills to oil and gas fired steam coils or pans inside the stills. 50 years on GreenStills aims to help safeguard the future of distillation through a similar transformation.”
Sam Gomersall, Commercial Director,said “GreenStills provides a huge opportunity for Scotland and the Scotch Whisky sector to massively reduce its carbon emissions and demonstrate global leadership in creating high quality global brand products in a sustainable manner”.
Innovation and Enterprise Services Director, at Scottish Enterprise, Jim Watson said: “It is crucial for businesses such as Pale Blue Dot to be competitive through being innovative – it ensures that they can remain one step ahead of competitors. Our SMART: SCOTLAND grants help SMEs tap into the support and resources available so that research and development projects can quickly get off the ground. This can enable a company to start exploring markets further afield and to compete at an international level.”
Pale Blue Dot Energy welcomes the news that the scotch whisky industry has reinforced its targets on environmental performance, particularly the targets to reduce energy use from fossil fuels by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Two weeks ago, the Scottish Government published “A Plan for Scotland” which states on page 29 that a Climate Change Plan and an accompanying Energy Strategy will be published this winter, outlining the intention to also reduce Scottish emissions by 80% by 2050. This should mean no more direct combustion of fossil fuels within two generations and thus major change for both the energy markets and large energy users such as distillers of whom the majority are currently dependent on oil or gas for their fuel.