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Cleaner water, greener fuel

Our new £65 million bio-energy facility at Cameronbridge in Scotland doesn’t just generate renewable energy – it helps ensure that the water that leaves the distillery is low in polluting power.

Cameronbridge - reducing water pollution

We want the waste water that leaves our facilities to be as clean as possible, which means reducing its polluting potential, measured in biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). Since several co-products from brewing and distilling, including spent grain and yeast, have polluting potential when they are present in effluent, finding innovative ways to treat them can make a huge difference to the quality of waste water.

The new bio-energy facility in Cameronbridge, Scotland, is starting to show what can happen when this organic matter is put to good use – as a source of renewable energy – rather than discharged through the site’s long sea outfall. At the distillery, which produces grain whisky for our Johnnie Walker brands and other spirits, waste water is now treated by anaerobic digestion and processed through a series of membranes before it leaves the plant.

The bio-energy facility will be fully commissioned next year, but as it builds up to full operational speed, the benefits are already being seen. In the last three months of this reporting year, the total BOD of effluent from Cameronbridge fell by 34% compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, despite an increase in production at the distillery. Next year, we expect Cameronbridge not only to show very significant results at its own site, but to make a significant contribution to our global target of reducing the BOD of our waste water by 60% by 2015, against a 2007 baseline.