THE GlenAllachie Distillery has declared it will invest in technology to reduce energy demand on its Speyside site by 50% after securing a “substantial grant”.

The distillery, which is owned by Scotch whisky veteran Billy Walker, said the reduction would come through the proposed implementation of technology known as mechanical vapour recompression (MVR). This will allow the distillery to capture low-grade waste from the stillhouse otherwise lost to the environment, and re-route it back into the stills.

GlenAllachie said it currently consumes an amount of energy which is average for the Scotch whisky industry, with around 70% used to power its four pot stills. It noted that reducing waste energy would decrease its carbon footprint “significantly”.

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The distillery is progressing the investment in the new technology after securing a grant from the Scottish Industrial Energy Transformation Fund. The project will require energy firm SSE to upgrade local infrastructure and install a larger transformer to enable the technology to be integrated.

GlenAllachie said the upgrade will the distillery to progressively move away from using natural gas to eco-friendly electricity and alternative green energy sources, including biogas – which is already produced from the distillery’s co-products – and hydrogen when commercially available.

More than 130 solar panels will be installed by GlenAllachie in a neighbouring field to provide renewable power to the MVR technology. The distillery is also working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to modify its existing boiler, improving its controls and efficiency.

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Richard Beattie, operations director at GlenAllachie, said: “We’re thrilled at the news of our successful grant application for a project that will help us as an SME to significantly boost our sustainability credentials. We are acutely aware of the climate crisis and strive to punch above our weight within the Scotch whisky industry to decarbonise our processes.

“Green technology tends to be very expensive during the initial phases of development. It can, therefore, often prevent smaller, independent firms from installing the equipment required to achieve their green ambitions. This cash injection from the SIETF, backed by the Scottish Government, is vital to facilitate such a move.

“We are pleased not only to receive the grant but also the significant support from Briggs of Burton, who, over recent years, have provided guidance on MVR projects and are now taking this technology to the next level.”

The new investment comes shortly after GlenAllachie upgraded the distillery’s visitor centre with the addition of a new bar and tasting lounge. New electric vehicle charging points, now powered by solar energy, were introduced for customer use earlier this year.