Green whisky

Helius Energy and the Combination of Rothes Distillers have announced a £50m joint venture aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of the whisky industry on Speyside.


Helius Energy and the Combination of Rothes Distillers (CoRD) have announced a £50m joint venture aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of the whisky industry on Speyside.



The partnership will create a joint-venture group under the name Helius CoRDe, which aims to save more than 20,000 tonnes of CO2 each year by using byproducts from the industry to generate energy.



The company will operate a 7.2MWe GreenSwitch biomass combined heat and power plant fuelled by a combination of distillery co-products and wood chips. It will also run a separate GreenFields plant, which will turn the liquid co-products of whisky production, which include water, pot ale and draff, into concentrated fertilisers and animal feed for use by local farmers.



The joint-venture company builds on a partnership between Grimsby-based biomass-to-power group Helius Energy and the Scottish distillers. Under the agreement, Helius Energy will own 51 per cent of the company, while the CoRD will own the remaining 49 per cent.



Frank Burns, general manager of CoRD, said: ‘This agreement formalises the work we have undertaken so far and sets out the structure for us to take this project forward to completion. The ability to generate renewable heat and power and secure additional markets for our distillery co-products is a very exciting development for the malt whisky industry on Speyside.’



John Seed, managing director of Helius Energy, added: ‘I’m delighted to be moving forward with a truly innovative project. Biomass will play a major role in meeting the UK’s targets for emissions reductions and this is a model that has the potential to be rolled out elsewhere. Drinking green whisky may give you a warm glow but it’ll also help to avoid warming the planet.’



The construction of the plants is scheduled to begin in early 2010, with the development phase expected to create between 20 and 100 jobs.