Industry first for Aquabio at the Glenmorangie distillery
Aquabio Ltd − based in Worcester, UK − has designed and built the whisky industry’s first ever anaerobic membrane bioreactor system to treat wastewater at the Glenmorangie distillery in Scotland’s Northern Highlands.
The anaerobic digestion plant at the Ross-shire distillery was officially opened earlier this summer and uses natural biological processes which both reduce output in distillery wastewater by up to 95 per cent and create energy in the form of methane rich biogas. Importantly, the biogas replaces some of the fossil fuels used at the distillery to heat the stills in which the spirit is made. A knock on effect is that the standard of the wastewater is improved.
Steve Goodwin, Managing Director of Aquabio explained, 'The low energy Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor Plant − or AnMBR LE − is designed to improve the quality of the effluent being discharged into the Dornoch Firth and the resulting biogas is reused as fuel in the site boiler system.'
The Aquabio technology with its ultra-filtration tubular membranes has helped Glenmorangie achieve its objectives of protecting the environment in which it operates. The plant now largely operates automatically and can be remotely monitored online; this ensures optimum efficiency in both wastewater treatment and power generation.
An average of ten to twelve litres of water are need to produce one litre of whisky, with the distillery producing 4−5 million litres of whisky per annum. The microorganisms in Glenmorangie’s bioreactor are able to degrade 11.7 tonnes of chemical oxygen demand in the polluted wastewater every day. In the process, they produce 3,500 cubic metres of biogas every day.
Aquabio, now part of the Freudenberg Group, has pioneered the implementation of water recycling within a wide range of industries including food and drink, bio fuels, pulp and paper, landfill and leachate and pharmaceuticals.