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Bunnahabhain aims for net zero with biomass energy centre

Bunnahabhain is on track to become the first whisky distillery on the island of Islay to have a net-zero distillation process with the construction of a new biomass energy centre.

The £6.5 million facility, being built behind the existing Bunnahabhain distillery, is set to save 3,500 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. It will be powered by wood chippings from low-value timber felled on Islay and spent malt, supporting the local economy, while ash from the biomass boiler will be repurposed as natural fertiliser for the forests.

Julian Patton, supply chain director at Distell International, the owner of Bunnahabhain, said: "This is an exciting new chapter for Bunnahabhain distillery and whisky production on Islay. The Scotch Whisky Association has set a net-zero target of 2040 and a lot of work is underway by our team in pursuit of achieving this goal long before this.

"We're extremely proud not only of the scale of the [biomass energy centre] project, but the entirely locally sourced fuelling system, which supports the island's forests and economy."

Luke Maga, managing director for global travel retail at Distell International, said: "Sustainability has risen rapdily up the global agenda and this is particularly true in travel retail, where consumers are increasingly looking to make informed environmentally friendly purchasing decisions. In a category where differentiation is key, the opportunity to promote Bunnahabhain on the back of such strong sustainability credentials is extremely exciting and gives us a powerful message to take to single malt enthusiasts."

Scheduled to be operational by spring 2022, the biomass energy centre has been funded by AMP Clean Energy, which will own, manage and operate the system. 

Richard Burrell, CEO of AMP Clean Energy, said: "The biomass energy centre being developed at Bunnahabhain is a landmark low-carbon project which sets the bar for how manufacturers can redue their 'scope one' carbon emissions, which will be key to achieving net zero."

26 October 2021 - Bethany Whymark