WE.1.D || Sustainability of Business Models and Innovations

Schestak, Isabel

Introduction: In Scotland, distilleries abstract 70% of the water licensed for direct abstractions across all industrial and commercial users, of which 80% is used for cooling. At the same time, distilleries meet their immense heating requirements still predominantly through fossil fuels such as natural gas or diesel. Heat recovery from process and waste streams, poses a largely untapped opportunity to reduce both water and fuel consumption, however, comes with a financial investment when retrofitted to a distillery. Objective: This study aims at evaluating the potential for heat recovery from an environmental and economic point of view and at exploring barriers and drivers for its realisation, taking the Scottish whisky distillery Arbikie as an example. Materials and methods: A Life Cycle Assessment with a focus on water use and carbon emissions is conducted to assess the environmental footprint of a heat recovery installation for retrofitting, and the Net Present Value (NPV) serves to determine financial gains from heat recovery, taking into account capital and labour costs of the installation as well as operational energy cost savings. Environmental and financial results are combined to derive a single eco-efficiency score, enabling the ranking of three possible scenarios which are heat recovery from: a) wort cooling b) distillations c) the by-products pot ale and spent lees. Results: The results are expected to guide and support uptake of heat recovery in the sector by showcasing overall water, greenhouse gas emission and cost savings as well as pay back times. In order to identify methods for incentivising heat recovery, the influence of carbon pricing will be studied. The study can serve as a model for the wider sector and facilitate decision making in this and other distilleries for the most environmentally and financially favourable way of recovering heat.