One of Scotland’s newest distilleries has signed a research partnership to achieve its aim of becoming a carbon-negative facility as it prepares to open in 2024.

Located on the Ardgowan Estate near Greenock, the distillery has teamed up with engineering provider Briggs of Burton and the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) at Heriot-Watt University. The collaboration will seek to develop less costly carbon-reducing technologies to help smaller independent companies achieve their sustainability objectives.

Nearly 500,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide are produced by Scottish distilleries and breweries each year. Whisky washbacks, used in distilleries as fermentation vessels, are usually fitted with CO2 extractors but this CO2 is rarely collected because of the high costs and multiple challenges of existing technology.

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Dr Jessica Skelton of Ardgowan Distillery said the research will be vital in providing practical guidance and technologies at a scale within the reach of independent producers.

“Many manufacturing assessments overlook biogenic CO2,” she said. “As a result, these reports fail to consider the by-product’s potential.

“Our goal is to assess the production, capture and potential uses of CO2 produced at our new one million litre per annum Scotch malt whisky distillery, finding new, sustainable uses that can be applied here and at other Scottish and international distilleries.”

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Ardgowan will use existing technologies such as high temperature heat pumps from Briggs of Burton to drive down its energy use and become carbon-neutral before the Scotch Whisky Association’s 2030 deadline. Through the work led by the ICBD, is aims to eventually become net negative.

Ardgowan confirmed in June of last year that its distillery project at Inverclyde would go ahead following a funding injection of £8.4 million led by principal investor Roland Grain and spirits group Distil.