Scotch Makers Pack In Heat, Produce Power

In Scotland, even the whiskey distillers (here, here and, again, here) have been pitching in on the country’s effort to generate 100 percent of its energy from renewable resources. And now Scottish distiller William Grant & Sons is partnering with GE to integrate a combined heat and power (CHP, or “cogeneration”) solution at its Girvan Distillery in Girvan, Scotland.

The distillery’s new GE Jenbacher J620 gas engine, which will be fully operational early next year, will run on biogas created from residual malt materials used in the distillation process. The system will then recapture waste heat produced during the manufacturing process to generate electricity.  While it might not be as glamorous as a solar array, the J620 can generate 3 megawatts (MW) of additional power, increasing the plant’s efficiency and reducing its carbon footprint.


image via GE

With three J420 Jenbacher gas engines already installed at the plant, Grant’s is capable of generating about 7 MW of electricity. By running the new engine on biogas, Grant’s can improve its operating efficiency by 43 percent.

The J620 is designed to meet the growing global demand for systems that enable industrial users of electricity to harness local and abundant waste materials for independent power production. Distributed generators, such as CHP solutions, can increase the efficiency of manufacturing operations and reduce transmission losses by generating power close to the p0int of consumption.

“GE’s flex fuel gas engine solutions give our customers the ability to utilize naturally occurring and local resources to generate power while significantly reducing their environmental impact,” noted Rafael Santana, who heads up GE Energy’s gas engines division. “With our gas engine technologies, companies are empowered to meet aggressive carbon reduction goals while improving operating costs.”

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).

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