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Ardgowan Distillery has struck a research collaboration to repurpose and reuse CO2 at its new premises, scheduled to open in 2024.

The partnership with Heriot-Watt University’s International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) and engineering provider Briggs of Burton aims to allow the distillery achieve carbon-neutral operations ahead of the Scotch Whisky Association’s 2030 deadline, with the intention of eventually becoming net negative for production CO2.

Every year, Ardgowan will produce 755,000 kg of CO2 from fermentation, with plans to use proven technologies from Briggs of Burton including high temperature heat pumps to drive down energy use.

The project is designed to overlap with MSc Brewing and Distilling projects at the University, which will extend the range of strategies explored and provide some facts for the industry on the various routes available to them, “regardless of scale”, the centre said.

“The major industry players have the scale and resources to achieve their sustainability objectives,” Dr Jessica Skelton from Ardgowan Distillery Company Ltd said.

“However, this research is so vital because it will provide practical guidance and technologies at a scale that’s within the reach of the many independent companies looking to capture and reuse biogenic CO2. It could also support companies in other markets. Whisky producers in Canada, USA and Japan often look to the Scotch whisky industry as leaders in production and operational change.”

The research is funded through the Food and Drink Net Zero Challenge fund.