Last week Bruichladdich Distillery announced that Jim Murray of the Whisky Bible awarded Octomore with the title of "Single Malt Whisky of the Year". Today there is more good news from the Distillery. Bruichladdich Distillery has installed a pioneering new system to get volts from malts, to power the distillery exclusively from recycled whisky waste, how cool is that? They really deserve the title "Progressive Hebridean Distillers". This new system is a ground-breaking new scheme based on an old concept to become self sufficient in power. Residual organic material left in â€˜pot aleâ€™ (the warm, watery post-distillation waste) is converted in to biogas by the action of microbes living in the absence of air - a process known for some time as anaerobic digestion.
The principal was first identified by scientist Robert Boyle around 1670, who noticed flammable bubbles emerging from the floor of a muddy pond. Although the first digester was built in 1859, it never took off being too vast, expensive, inefficient and reliant on constant scientific monitoring. Now an economically viable, compact version has been designed by Dr Paul Ditchfield of Biowayste Systems. This modern, hi-tech version uses a bespoke culture of microbes, and is scaled specifically to suit Bruichladdichâ€™s operations. Modern technology has improved the efficiency and replaced the day-to-day technical expertise required allowing small companies to benefit from this simple, green science for the first time. Continue reading.....
When Bruichladdich Distillery was built by the young Harvey brothers as a state-of-the-art distillery in 1881, Victorian pragmatism ensured many new efficiency ideas were incorporated in to the design, many were subsequently adopted industry-wide. From the Victorians up until today there was nothing that could be done with the distillery's watery waste which was merely piped out to sea. Now, thanks to a bunch of bilious microbes, it is recycled to produce electricity.
Managing director Mark Reynier said: â€œWe wanted a â€˜beautifully simpleâ€™ solution in keeping with the pioneering Harvey brothers - not just a conscience-salving piece of paper telling us how good we have been; we wanted waste out, power in. Now we can power the whole distillery from our whisky waste. Drink Bruichladdich and save the planet! How neat is that?â€ The biogas is created by 12 tons of microbes feeding off the pot ale in two reactors. Once commissioned, the gas is fed to a generator to create electricity to power the distillery and its 10 acre site, including bottling hall, computers, offices, warehouses and vehicles. It is anticipated that energy savings will produce a payback of 2 years on the almost Â£0.3m cost.