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Whiskey Distillery Slashes Carbon, Increases Production

distilleryAn Irish whiskey distillery has reduced its carbon emissions 40 percent while increasing whiskey production after installing equipment and technology supplied by GEA Wiegand.

The Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard €100 million ($124 million) expansion project at the Midleton Distillery was undertaken to meet the projected growth of the Irish whiskey category following a 10-fold increase in Jameson sales over the past 25 years. The company also wanted to implement energy-saving measures to cut production costs and carbon footprint.

GEA Wiegand installed a new grain column unit, which was configured to distil under vacuum, with energy coupling by means of a pressure-vacuum cascade.

“This resulted in the achievement of a new technological milestone, with the first commercial distilling installation by means of Mechanical Vapour Recompression — or MVR, a heat pump — whereby energy is recovered mechanically and reintroduced back into the distillation column, an almost virtuous circle for the recovery and reuse of latent heat,” says GEA Wiegand spokesperson David Scheiby.

The new grain distillation process has replaced and more than doubled the former distillery capacity to 64 MLA per year. It also resulted in a CO2 reduction of 37,000 metric tons per year, compared to traditional process at expansion capacity, and saved the company €5.5 million ($7 million) in fuel costs per year.

Elsewhere in the industry, Scottish startup Celtic Renewables says it can turn waste from the country’s £4 billion ($6 billion) whiskey-making industry into millions of gallons of renewable fuel, creating a £60 million ($90 million) biofuels industry.

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