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Innovating with bioenergy in Scotch Whisky – Roseisle

Case study

Roseisle is the first new major distillery to be built in Scotland for 30 years and is the first malt whisky distillery to generate significant renewable energy from its co-products.

Diageo is a world's leading premium drinks business with brands such as Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, and understands that putting the principles of sustainability and responsibility into practice is key to the growth of the business; from domestic value creation to addressing the carbon emissions challenges within its operations. Diageo aims to manage climate change mitigation as part of its overall risk management process, including a company-wide reduction plan which is reported against every quarter.

To help achieve these goals and to increase its use of renewable energy, Diageo opened its £40m Roseisle Scotch whisky distillery in Speyside, Scotland in 2010, setting new standards for environmentally sustainable Scotch whisky distilleries. The company invested £17m in a state of the art bioenergy plant at Roseisle which uses by-products from the distilling process as a feed source of renewable energy for the plant.

Roseisle is the first new major distillery to be built in Scotland for 30 years and is the first malt whisky distillery to generate significant renewable energy from its co-products making its environmental impact significantly lower than a distillery of an equivalent size. Overall 50% of the distillery’s energy consumption is made up from renewable sources generated in the onsite bioenergy plant.

distillery still house

Roseisle utilises a combination environmental technologies that is unprecedented in distilling, such as biomass boilers to raise steam from the spent grains, and waste water treatment by anaerobic digestion and membrane filtration.

Recent results from the Roseisle distillery speak for themselves

  • Approximately 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum is being saved from the use of renewable fuels
  • 3,000 tonnes of CO2 saved from off-setting fuel at the malting plant
  • Over 50% of the distillery’s energy is produced from sustainable renewable sources
  • Water consumption has been minimised by introducing a closed loop on the distillery condensers
  • Environmental impact from effluent discharge is now lower than existing outflow before the distillery was built – Roseisle Distillery can therefore be said to have virtually no environmental impact to the discharge waters
  • Renewable energy is generated by the anaerobic digestion of distillery by-products
  • Roseisle is the first malt whisky distillery to generate renewable energy from all the co-products and has proven the technology for implementation at other sites