Bunnahabhain becomes the first net zero emission distillery on Islay

A new biomass energy center will save 3,500 tons of carbon annually


With a modern biomass energy center, Distell International, owner of the Bunnahabhain Distillery, wants to make the distillation process of the distillery emission-free from spring 2022. The annual emission savings should amount to 3,500 tonnes of carbon. This corresponds to the emission values of 1,800 diesel vehicles, more than the total number of vehicles registered on Islay, as the company's current press release describes.

Julian Patton, Supply Chain Director of Distell International, said: “The Scotch Whisky Association has set a net zero target of 2040 and a lot of work is underway by our team in pursuit of achieving this goal long before this. The biomass centre makes Bunnahabhain Islay’s first distillery with a net zero distillation process, and we’re extremely proud, not only of the scale of the project but the entirely locally sourced fuelling system, which supports the island’s forests and economy.”

The £ 6.5 million facility will not be owned by the distillery itself will not own. The energy center is financed and operated by AMP Clean Energy, on whose behalf the construction company Dallol Energy Limited is currently building the plant. It should be operational in spring 2022.

The energy system will be powered on the one hand with forest biomass sourced within a 15-kilometer radius, consisting of wood chips from low value timber that arise during reforestation. On the other hand, the spent malt from whisky production will also be used. The ashes of the biomass fuel will serve as fertiliser for the replanted forest areas, creating a sustainability cycle.

Images: Bunnahabhain Distillery