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Scotland – Glenfiddich fuels transport fleet with biogas made from its whisky residues

Dufftown,
July, 2021

Glenfiddich, the single malt Scotch whisky from the William Grant & Sons’ distilleries, has launched a pioneering ‘closed loop’ sustainable transport initiative that will make it the first global spirits brand to run its delivery fleet on green biogas made from the residues of its own  distilling process.

Using a unique technology developed by its parent company William Grant & Sons, the Glenfiddich distillery at Dufftown in north-eastern Scotland converts its production wastes and residues into an Ultra-Low Carbon Fuel (ULCF) gas that produces minimal carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions.

Fuelling stations have been installed at the distillery, and the biogas is now powering specially converted trucks that handle the transportation of the Glenfiddich spirit at all stages of its production at the Dufftown distillery through to bottling and packaging, a journey that covers four William Grant & Sons’ sites in central and western Scotland. Local road users will soon get used to seeing trucks bearing the proud statement: ‘Fuelled by Glenfiddich – turning whisky waste into Ultra Low Carbon Fuel’.

Stuart Watts, William Grant & Sons’ distilleries director, said: “It has taken more than a decade for Glenfiddich to become the first distillery to process 100% of its waste residues on its own site, then to be the first to process those residues into biogas fuel to power its trucks, and finally to be the first to install a biogas truck fuelling station supplied by our on-site renewable energy facility.

“Across the entire production lifecycle, the biogas reduces carbon dioxide (CO2e) by over 95% and other harmful particulates and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 99% when compared to diesel and other fossil fuels. Each truck will displace up to 250 tonnes of CO2e annually, which has the same environmental benefit as planting up to 4,000 trees every year – the equivalent of displacing natural gas, a fossil fuel, from 112 households.”

Mr Watts added: “We are proud of these renewable energy breakthroughs in our industry as we scale up the de-carbonising benefits of this closed-loop process across our entire transport fleet.”

Claudia Falcone, Glenfiddich’s global brand director, added: “Our consumers have a maverick mind-set that encourages us to push boundaries. As a family-owned business we think in the long term whether our focus is on the sustainable measures we employ at the distillery or on producing the world’s most awarded single malt. Our green biogas transport fleet is absolutely in line with our brand ethos of ‘Where Next’ – always challenging ourselves not to rest on our past achievements but to always look for what is coming next.”

The ‘Fuelled by Glenfiddich’ breakthrough is an example of the brand’s actions to reduce the environmental impact of its production process. It is one of a range of sustainability activities taking place across William Grant & Sons’ wider business in line with the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA)’s roadmap to achieve targets set out under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which will be a main focus of the UN COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this November.

The SWA’s four main areas for industry action are: tackling climate change by having net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040; moving to a circular economy by making all packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025; hitting responsible water use targets by 2025; and caring for the land through the active conservation and restoration of Scotland’s peatland by 2035.

After launching Glenfiddich’s green biogas vehicles, William Grant & Sons will scale up the de-carbonising benefits of the Ultra-Low Carbon Fuel closed-loop process across its entire transport fleet and its industry supply chain, and is planning to make the technology available across the Scottish whisky industry to support the decarbonisation of transport in line with UK and Scottish governments’ net zero targets. 

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