Greener whisky is on the way

Tuesday 18th October 2016

I can think of nothing better than a glass of single malt after a day on the Scottish mountains…the peace and tranquillity…it’s as if time stands still.

However, back in the commercial world, business operates on a different scale and time is of the essence. Ensuring maximum productivity is essential and this is of paramount importance in the UK's growing whisky trade. 

When Tomatin Distillery in Scotland decided to switch its heavy fuel oil burner to LPG to cut carbon and save money, the whole LPG system was installed and up and running within a week, with minimum disruption to production.

Many traditional distilleries are off the gas grid and some in Scotland benefited from funding from the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) to replace their existing fuel oil boilers to improve energy efficiency. The Tomatin distillery, near Inverness, was one such brewery and tapped into the benefits of LPG as part of its greener energy mix.  

The award-winning distillery initially introduced a biomass boiler - a fuel option previously unused in the Scottish distilling industry. However, the biomass system alone was unable to supply enough energy for the entire energy-intensive distilling process, so after consulting with others in the industry, it decided to convert the inefficient, expensive and polluting 10MW oil boiler to LPG.

Benefits include:

  • Financial savings of over 15% on its fuel bills
  • Return on the investment within one year
  • Reduction in annual carbon emissions of 560 tonnes - a saving of almost 20%
  • Reduced maintenance costs

Suppliers to the whisky industry are also getting a taste for the benefits of LPG, including one of Scotland's leading grain merchants which specialises in drying and storing in excess of 100,000 tonnes of malting barley each year. It turned to LPG to fuel its heavy duty grain dryer, capable of drying 20 tonnes of grain per hour. Again a quick installation was key to ensuring continuous production to supply malt to Scotland's whisky industry. 

According to The Spirits Business magazine, 2016 is set to be another record-breaking year for distillery openings in the UK. It cites data compiled for this month's annual Craft Distilling Expo in London which showed that 34 craft distilleries are expected to open in the UK by the end of the year, compared to 26 last year.

Twenty-eight new distilleries have opened already this year, bringing the number of new distilleries in the UK since 2008 to 111.

While not all of these will be off the gas grid, it is great to see LPG fast becoming the low carbon fuel of choice for the spirits sector at such an exciting time in its development.

Clearly time doesn't stand still in this industry.

For more information on how to access the uses and environmental benefits of LPG visit our Advice & Information section. 

The trade association for the LPG and bioLPG industry in the UK