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GIB-financed Scottish business goes green

GIB-financed Scottish business goes green

GIB-financed Scottish business goes green

A significant investment in the Scottish drinks industry has been announced by the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB).

Some of the £5 million of finance unveiled by the investment bank in June will be allocated to the Balmenach Distillery in Speyside. Major capital contributions will be made by the distillery itself to support the project and develop the necessary infrastructure.

Funding from the GIB has already seen Tomatin Distillery near Inverness and Aberfeldy Distillery in Perthshire given support in going green. The former business has since been able to reduce its carbon emissions by around 80 per cent, in addition to making significant cuts to its fuel costs.

Like Tomatin and Aberfeldy, the distillery at Balmenach will be able to replace its current heavy fuel oil boiler with a biomass variant, which is much more environmentally friendly. This type of energy has historically been used at the site to meet its fuel requirements, as it is situated in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands and is therefore not on the National Grid.

Both energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by the new boiler, meaning the GIB funding is helping to bring cost-effective renewable energy to the business with a comparatively small amount of up-front capital investment. The steam necessary for the whisky production processes will also be created by the boiler.

Highland MP Danny Alexander said he is very proud of the benefits his constituency is gaining from the actions of the GIB. He explained this kind of action can ensure the activities of a business continue to run at the high standards they have developed, while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint of its production processes.

"I look forward to seeing the GIB take on even more investments in the Highlands over the coming months and years," the minister commented.

Wood pellet fuel for the biomass boiler will be provided by Balcas, which manufactures them. The company has a plant at Invergordon, Ross-shire, where biomass is combusted in a Combined Heat and Power plant, with the emerging steam condensed to drive an electrical generator.

Residual heat from this process is then used to reduce the moisture content of locally-sourced wood fibre, which is processed into high-energy fuel pellets. This means that all of the electrical and thermal energy involved in the process represent renewable sources of energy generation in themselves.

Managing director of Balcas Ernest Kidney noted that Balmenach is the third distillery to approach his organisation. He added that he is looking forward to working together with the whisky maker to help it to reduce its carbon footprint and go green.

"We all have a responsibility to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and Balmenach Distillery is taking a proactive step that will help them cut their fuel overheads as well as ensure security of supply," Mr Kidney commented.

"We are pleased to say that there has been significant interest from other distilleries, as well as industrial and commercial organisations, who want to cut their carbon emissions by up to 90 per cent and make immediate cost savings," he continued.

 

Posted by William Rodriguez