First Pillar activity, Scope one emissions – Conversion to Hydrogen from Natural gas
Objective: to reduce the carbon emissions from the onsite generation of high-pressure steam
Current Product Carbon Footprint contribution, 35%
Target: 90% reduction in the carbon footprint currently produced by burning natural gas.
Timeline: end of 2025.
40% lower energy consumption
InchDairnie Distillery is an innovative and norm challenging low carbon emission distillery based between Kinglassie and Glenrothes in Fife, Scotland.
Our distillery energy consumption, per litre of pure alcohol, in 2021 was 40% lower than the industry average (4.931 KwHrs per 1 litre alcohol)*. Our water consumption is already below the industry’s 2025 target of 25 l per litre of pure alcohol (22.7 l per litre of pure alcohol, 2021)**.
*Chivas Bros, Vibe Awards Case Study 2020
**SWA published sustainability targets, 2020
Building an Energy Efficient Distillery
The distillery was built in 2015 with a combination of flavour and energy efficiency at the top of our priority list. Basing our knowledge on the traditions of Scotch without letting us be constrained by these allowed the distillery to install equipment uncommon in Scotch whisky industry, equipment that is important for sustainability and flavour.
InchDairnie Distillery Ltd Net Zero Strategy
The company has defined sustainability as ‘’taking active steps to reduce the company’s product carbon footprint. The scope of the carbon footprint being from field to shelf’’. In 2018 the company engaged a specialist company to conduct an independent carbon footprint calculation for the product from the distillery. This report has been amended following the change in the electricity supply agreement to a renewable source. This report, non-redacted or edited, is published on the company’s website. The scope of the calculation excludes all outbound activities as the company, at that time, did not have a product in the market.
This carbon footprint report clearly identified the principal areas of the company’s product that were driving the carbon footprint. The two areas being the malted barley supply chain, our principle raw material, and the natural gas consumption at the distillery. The feasibility studies reported below further informed the development of the strategy.
The company has signed up to the SME Climate Commitment.
“Recognising that climate change poses a threat to the economy, nature and society-at-large, our company commits to take action immediately in order to:
1. Halve our greenhouse gas emissions before 2030
2. Achieve net zero emissions before 2050
3. Disclose our progress on a yearly basis
In doing so, we are proud to be recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, and join
governments, businesses, cities, regions, and universities around the world with the same mission.”
The InchDairnie Distillery is a business first and business last, all activities undertaken to reduce the companies carbon footprint must be commercially viable.
Strategy Publication and Progress Reporting
The company has signed up to SME Climate Commitment and it is therefore the company’s policy to publish this strategy and annual progress reports on the deployment of the strategy on the company’s website. The strategy has identified carbon footprint reduction targets and action timelines. All carbon footprint reductions will be independently verified.
The strategy used the ‘The 1.5oc Business Play Book’ publication to develop the strategy format.
The strategy has two principal work streams, conversion to hydrogen and changing the companies malting barley procurement policies to target low carbon footprint supplies.
It is not the company’s policy to achieve net zero by offsetting its carbon footprint until all reasonable steps have been taken to reduce the carbon footprint. Any carbon offsetting will be through agreements with the local farming community where they are providing high quality off set schemes.
The development of the strategy has been informed by the following:
- The Carbon Footprint calculation report.
- The feasibility studies already undertaken
- The initial distillery design.
Work Stream One
First Pillar activity, Scope one emissions – Conversion to Hydrogen from Natural gas
Work Stream Two
Second Pillar activity, Scope two emissions – Malting Barley procurement policy change.
Objective: to reduce the carbon footprint of the company’s principle raw material, malted cereal.
Current Product Carbon Footprint contribution, 56%
Target: 50% reduction in the carbon footprint currently produced by the malting barley.
Timeline: end of 2030.
When the distillery was designed the company used the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle philosophy. As a result, the distillery has a very low energy demand, and it is efficient in its use of cereals and water. This was achieved principally by the adoption of the following techniques:
Installing a gas boiler with an exhaust gas economiser which increased the boilers efficiency.
Installing a hammer mill, mash conversion vessel and mash filter system as opposed to more traditional roller mill and lauter tun system. This reduced the water consumption, increased the raw material extraction efficiency and increased the resultant wash alcohol strength leading to a more energy efficient distillation process.
The cooling function at the distillery is a recirculating cooling tower which reduced the water demand of the distillery.
Thermal Vapour Compression (TVR) systems were installed on both stills. This allowed for the recycling of 35% of the energy back into the stills.
The introduction of a heat recovery condenser on the wash still allowing for all the energy rejected by the wash still to be reused elsewhere in the process.
The preheating of the feed stock to both stills by utilising waste heat.
Distillery Expansion Program.
The company has taken the decision to expand the distilleries capacity, increasing it from 2.0m l alc. per year to 4.0m l alc. per year. As part of this plan the company is taking the opportunity to introduce some of the carbon footprint reduction actions identified in the strategy as part of this plan.
The company supplies all its co product, pot and ale and draff, to a local anaerobic digester (AD) where it is converted to bio methane. Regrettably it is not commercially feasible to use this gas as the distilleries main fuel source as the subsidy received by the AD plant would be transferable to the gas supplied to the distillery.
The digestate from this AD plant is spread on local farmland. Since 2019 it has been the company’s policy to accept malting barley that has been grown on land where AD plant digestate has been spread.
Prior to the development of this strategy the company carried out several feasibility studies aimed at reducing its carbon footprint.
- The installation of PV panels on the maturation warehouse roofs. This demonstrated that significant amounts of electrical energy can be generated this way however it was not pursued due to several issues.
- There were concerns expressed over fire risk and
- The impact the installation would have on the firefighting strategy should there be a fire on the roof or in the warehouse itself due to the electrical risk to the fire fighter.
- The deployment of a high temperature heat pump. This study looked at recovering the waste heat form the final condenser on the spirit still. This is currently on hold as the impact was relatively low in reducing the carbon footprint and the economics still had to be fully understood.
- The conversion to biomethane from natural gas. As stated above the distillery supplies all its co products to the local AD plant. The plant uses green crop as its main feed stock. The study looked at taking the biomethane direct to the distillery and to replace the use of natural gas. This was rejected as the subsidy the AD plant receives from the government for supplying the gas into the gas network could not be transferred to any gas supplied directly to the distillery making this economically non-viable.
- Conversion to hydrogen. This study looked at several ways of producing and burning hydrogen at the distillery and additionally looked at offsite production. The conclusion of the study was the conversion to hydrogen was feasible, but the production of the gas would ned to be carried out off site or on site by a third party.
The supply of our malted barley was identified as the largest single element in the company’s carbon footprint. The carbon footprint of the malted barley was almost equally split between the barley itself and the malting process.
The company has now switched all its malted barley supply to a company that is actively reducing the carbon footprint of the malting process and sourcing its barley from farms that utilise lower carbon footprint farming systems.
The company is a now funding partner for a project examining different farming techniques aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of cereal growing.
- The company will install in 2023 electric car charging points for use by employees and visitors.
- The company uses video conferencing as its primary means of conducting business meetings.
- Hybrid working is now part of how the office-based staff can work.
- The company is part of the cycle to work scheme and will continue to do so.
- Following further investment by the companies malted cereal supplier in reducing their carbon foot print the companies own carbon footprint calculation will be reviewed in 2022.