October 9, 2009

Distillery using algae to cut CO2

One of Scotland's best known whisky distilleries is taking part in a scheme to cut carbon dioxide emissions using oil-producing algae.

The Glenturret Distillery in Perthshire will use the ground-breaking system to turn fumes generated by whisky production into biodiesel.

The algae strips CO2 from the emissions and converts it into oil and protein.

Glenturret Distillery, home of the Famous Grouse, has produced whisky since 1775.

The system was built by Scottish Bioenergy with the help of a Shell Springboard award.

'Great promise'

David Van Alstyne, head of Scottish Bioenergy, said: "A couple of years ago the idea of using algae as carbon recycler sounded absurd but with the support of Shell, Edrington Group and the Scottish Environmental Technology Network we have built Britain's first pilot scale bioreactor."

Green MSP Robin Harper officially switched on the bioreactor, which could have implications for others in the industry.

He said: "This project is tremendously exciting, and I hope that it will be thoroughly successful.

"In the fight against climate change we need soft engineering alternatives to be applied at every opportunity, and this alternative to pumped carbon capture and storage holds great promise.

"If it proves to be economically competitive and can be scaled up the potential could be absolutely huge."

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