Carbon capture project aims to remove one million tonnes of CO2 from distilleries

Having set its sights on disposing up to one million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the distillery industry by 2030, UK-based Carbon Capture Scotland has announced it will source its carbon removal technology from Danish supplier Airco Process Technology (APT).

The ambitious project will see the Scottish carbon capture specialist capture CO2 from the fermentation processes associated with distilleries.

The biogenic CO2 produced during these processes will be permanently removed and either utilised or stored via geological storage.

Richard Nimmons, CEO at Carbon Capture Scotland said, “Capturing biogenic CO2 emissions – CO2 that is produced via organic processes such as whisky fermentation, anaerobic digestion, and biomass incineration is biogenic CO2 and when you remove it from the air and permanently remove it, you produce negative emissions.”

According to Nimmons, Carbon Capture Scotland plans to handle the full value chain of construction from operating, transportation and storage.

Formerly known as Dry Ice Scotland, the company – owned by brothers Ed and Richard Nimmons – rebranded last year to expand the scope of its solutions to include current and growing carbon capture activities.

Through its new partnership with APT, the company gains access to key carbon capture technologies designed to capture and purify CO2 from various high and low-concentration sources.

“For Airco Process, we can very much relate to Carbon Capture Scotland’s ambitions,” stated Ronni Blicher Madsen, Aftermarket Manager at APT.  “We are on a combined mission of contributing to a green future and utilising all value streams available.”

According to research by Heriot-Watt University, distilleries and breweries produce close to 500,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

With the introduction of new carbon reduction targets, the sector has sought to reduce emissions through initiatives such as the Scotch Whisky Association’s goal to hit Net Zero by 2040.

Having pledged to be carbon negative by 2024, the Ardgowan Distillery in Scotland joined forces with global distilling engineering specialists Briggs of Burton (Briggs).

Briggs, which designs, engineers and builds distilleries around the world, specifically designed each part of a new modular distillery to enable integration of energy reduction, heat recovery and CO2 capture technologies.

The SWA’s Sustainability Strategy launched in 2021 aims for the sector to reach Net Zero ten years ahead of the UK Government’s targets.

A study from the SWA published in 2020 revealed that the 2018 emissions baseline was 528,792 tonnes CO2e/year, with 63% from natural gas and 31% from fossil-based fuel oils.

For the Nimmons brothers, meeting carbon reduction targets required finding a partner who understood the scalability of the market.

“It was crucial for us that our partners and suppliers are entrepreneurial and target drive,” they said. “For the coming 4-5 years we will focus on the distilleries here in Scotland, thereafter the world is open for significant medium- and long-term scale.”

Currently capturing over 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, Carbon Capture Scotland is on track to scale to capture and remove 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2030.

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