The Scotch whisky giant converts waste residue left over from the distillation process to biofuel for its delivery trucks.

The Scotch whisky giant uses its own waste residue as biofuel for its delivery trucks.

At the Glenfiddich distillery in the village of Dufftown in north-eastern Scotland, workers add draff-that is, sugar-rich kernels of water-soaked barley- next to the back of a truck, forming a smokestack. Afterwards, they mix in another whisky waste by-product called ‘pot ale’, a coppery liquid akin to beer that is left over after the distillation process. This liquid waste is then fed to an anaerobic digester, wherein bacteria contained in the apparatus break down the whisky-making product waste and residue into biogas.

Said biofuel represents a sustainable option, being capable of reducing carbon emissions by 95% and other greenhouse gas emissions by 99%.

This low carbon fuel powers three customized Glenfiddich trucks that transport the distilled alcohol from the initial production sire at Dufftown to bottling and packaging stations located in western and central Scotland.

The trucks in question usually run on liquefied gas.

Stuart Watts, distillery director at Glenfiddich’s parent company William Grant and Sons, is convinced that the eco-friendly technology can be scaled up to encompass the single malt whisky producer’s fleet of 20 vehicles. At a later stage, the biofuel could even drive other company’s trucks.

Glenfiddich’s testing of whisky residue as fuel is originally based on an experiment conducted on that front by Edinburgh Napier University in tandem with independent whisky maker Tullibardine Distillery and biofuel start-up Celtic Renewables. The team ran a car on said whisky residue biofuel, which they termed biobutanol, across Edinburgh Naipier’s Craiglockhart campus.

At the time, the WWF praised this effort as the biofuel in question dispends with the need to cut down forests, as is the case with some forms of biofuel such as palm oil.

Every biogas truck employed by Glenfiddich comes with the distinct advantage of displacing up to 250 tonnes of carbon.

Biogas is a more sustainable option than natural gas as it is not derived by drilling or fracking. These processes are particularly harmful to the environment whereas methods such as anaerobic digestion employ readily available materials that would have gone to waste or, in this specific instance, have been sold off as protein-rich cattle feed. Protein-rich feedstock eaten by dairy cows is usually dispelled by the animals in question as nitrogen within their excrement.

Glenfiddich intends to restore and conserve Scotland’s peatland by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040.

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