Rising fuel costs force people to do a lot of things they might not otherwise do, like walk to work or ride the bus to the mall. In Scotland, it's encouraged a whiskey distillery to develop new uses for its single malt whiskey.
Despite its ability to put hair on your chest and keep you warm in sub-zero temperatures, a bottle of whiskey won't save you if your car is out of gas. However, the 130 year-old Bruichladdich whiskey distillery has found that the waste products from the distilling process can be used to generate enough electricity to power a Nissan LEAF.
Built in 1881, the distillery still uses much of the original technology to produce single malt whiskey, but one piece of equipment at the Bruichladdich operation stands out: the anaerobic digester that owner Mark Reynier installed earlier this year.
“We are not eco-warriors but we wanted to see how we could do our part,” Reynier said. “Most schemes along these lines are hare-brained and have little commercial merit, but this one does. Though the technology has existed since 1860, only now is it economically viable on this small scale.”
Pot ale, the watery waste product left over after distilling, is converted into biogas through anaerobic digestion. During the process, bespoke microbes digest the "pot ale" to produce large quantities of high-quality biogas. Also the proud new owner of an all-electric Nissan LEAF, Reynier takes joy in the knowledge that the rich tradition of whiskey making now helps to power his car as well.
"The LEAF is fantastic to drive. It was frustrating to be making such strides in being self-sufficient, when my car still needed the most expensive diesel in the UK from the mainland," said Reynier. "The arrival of the LEAF has allowed me to be as truly self-sufficient as possible."
Bruichladdich is the only producer of organic whiskey on Islay, which is home to no fewer than eight malt whiskey distilleries, and recently distilled the first ever biodynamic whiskey. In honor of the sustainable energy system now in place at the distillery, Nissan and Bruichladdich have released a limited run of LEAF-labelled organic whisky