Biomass Boilers Could Reduce Scottish Bacardi Distiller’s CO2 Footprint by 90%

A Scottish Dewar's distillery owned by Bacardi Limited could reduce its carbon footprint by up to 90 percent by replacing heavy-fuel boilers with biomass boilers fuelled by sustainably sourced wood pellet fuel.

The Aberfeldy Distillery raised £1.2 million through the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) for energy-efficiency projects. Half of the funding is coming from an Equitix-managed fund, in which GIB is an investor, and the Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund. The investment is in partnership with Balcas Limited, a UK manufacturer of wood pellet biomass.

Half of the funding for Aberfeldy is being provided by GIB, with the rest coming from the private sector. Both projects entail replacing existing heavy-fuel oil boilers in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Aberfeldy is the second Scottish distillery to benefit from funds raised through GIB. Last year, Tomatin Distillery, near Inverness, was given £1.2 million to build a new biomass boiler. Tomatin is already "on track" to reduce its emissions by about 80 percent, according to GIB.

The bank expects to announce funding for a three additional Scottish distillery projects in the coming months.

In other Bacardi news, the spirits giant pledged in February to obtain 40 percent of the sugarcane-derived products used to make its rums from certified sustainable sources by 2017 and 100 percent by 2022 — an industry first — as part of a new global sustainability campaign.

A number of breweries are also finding ways to innovate for sustainability:

  • In October, Hofmühl Brewery in Eichstätt, Bavaria announced that a combination of solar and bioenergy is not only supplementing its energy supply, but making it completely self-sufficient. The brewery said the new combined heat and power (CHP) source is expected to generate more than 750 GWh of heat and 500 GWh of electricity a year; waste heat coming from the unit will then be directed back into the heat storage unit, which feeds the solar thermal system. Initially, the CHP will burn 50% natural gas, but the brewery says the incorporation of the biomethane will enable it to become a net zero facility by 2018.
  • In November, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. became the first to receive the US Zero Waste Business Council’s platinum certification — the highest possible rating — for successfully diverting 99.8 percent of its waste. The company’s waste-management efforts also saved some $5,398,470 in avoided disposal costs and $903,308 in 2012 revenue, which we believe is called "proving the business case." By diverting 51,414 tons from landfill and incineration, Sierra Nevada avoided 11,812 tons of CO2.
  • And in January, Sonoma County-based Bear Republic Brewing Company unveiled a new, energy-positive water treatment system at its brewery in Cloverdale. The EcoVolt system, which uses a proprietary bioelectric technology to treat wastewater and generate biogas, will help Bear Republic cut its water treatment costs, generate clean water and energy for use onsite, and significantly reduce the brewery’s CO2 footprint.

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