DIAGEO, the world’s leading premium drinks business, yesterday announced plans to invest £6million in a new state-of-the-art bioenergy plant at its Glenlossie distillery complex in Speyside.
A planning application has been submitted to Moray Council to build the new plant which will produce energy by burning draff – the spent grain left over from distilling whisky - at the Glenlossie site near Elgin.
The proposed new plant will build on Diageo’s industry-leading investment in renewable energy at Roseisle distillery, the new £40million distillery which Diageo opened in Speyside last year, and a new £65million bioenergy plant at Cameronbridge distillery in Fife.
The Glenlossie bioenergy plant will use around 30,000 tonnes of draff per year, the by-product from around 12 million litres of Scotch whisky production. Diageo has 17 malt whisky distilleries on Speyside, producing over 50 million litres of spirit per year and providing a plentiful supply of draff.
The plant will produce steam which will be used in the operations on site, including Glenlossie and Mannochmore distilleries and the onsite dark grains plant, which makes animal feed. The bioenergy plant will make an important contribution to Diageo’s global environmental targets by reducing annual CO2 emissions by approximately 6,000 tonnes, the equivalent of taking around 1,600 family cars off the road.
Diageo’s Malt Distilling Director, Brian Higgs, said: “With Roseisle distillery we showed what can be achieved in using the natural by-products of our industry to produce green energy.
“Diageo is committed to reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and to reducing our overall impact on the environment. The plan for Glenlossie is another significant step in our journey towards that sustainable future for Scotch whisky production.”
The £6million investment at Glenlossie comes on top of a capital investment plan which Diageo announced earlier this summer to invest around £20million in expanding its malt whisky distillation capacity in Speyside over the next two-to-three years. The expansion in distillation will allow Diageo’s Speyside distilleries to produce an extra 10 million litres of alcohol per year.
Diageo is also investing £3.2million in increasing capacity at the Glen Ord distillery near Inverness and £3.5million in increasing capacity at its Caol Ila distillery in Islay.
Niall Stuart chief executive of Scottish Renewables, the voice of the renewable energy industry in Scotland, welcomed Diageo’s plan.
He said: “This project reinforces that renewables are becoming part of mainstream business life in Scotland. We have the biggest wind farm in Europe, a world leading wave and tidal sector, cutting edge technology development in offshore wind, and our world famous whisky industry is now increasingly looking to renewable fuel sources to power its operations with Diageo very much leading the way.
“Renewable heat and small scale renewables have the potential to help all sorts of businesses generate new revenue or reduce costs while cutting carbon emissions.”