I did not put this in the Beginner's Section because it really only applies to those up and running.
I have a background and some experience in sustainability and energy efficiency and have been pondering the following questions as I consume every piece of literature on the distilling industry I can get my hands on in the last two weeks. (When I get interested in something, I GET INTERESTED) I saw on here someone said something along the lines of "Read about distilling, then read about it some more. If you read everything and aren't sick of it, then you should try it." If nothing else, I'll have a lot of book knowledge on the subject. Here are my questions:
Does anyone use any renewable energy sources in their DSP? If not, has anyone toyed with the idea of using waste products to generate some fuel to power a boiler or other equipment? It seems like a logical step, perhaps only attractive to take on once you cross from red into black on the financials. Am I way off in estimating how much energy is headed out of the door in the form of uncollected heat or waste, or is it simply not cost effective given current utility prices in the US?
A lot of stills are fired by "presto" logs which are for the most part a forestry by-product. Victoria Spirits is one I know of. Both sustainable & renewable.
This stuff fascinates me. We are designing our new farm distillery, on a 440 acre farm, where grains have been grown for generations. We want to be green and using clean energy, setting up sustainability, etc. We are planting over 70 acres this year, and will increase that as time goes by. We have asked several local distilleries what their needs are, and will take that into account when we plant.
The three story building will be set into the hillside for insulation, and ground level access to all floors. We were thinking about setting it up gravity fed and pump free, like the local Stoutridge winery/distillery is, but decided not to for a variety of reasons.
We are putting in a 45KW PV solar system with a full thermal solar array as well. We will be making more electricity than we will use, and will have some electric vehicles, as well as sell back to the grid.
We will be reclaiming hot water for multiple uses, until any water released is near ambient temperature.
We are designing 'containerized wetlands', a bio-treatment process in which waste components can be recovered for re-use or by using a vegetated sand bed, before it is released into our ponds, and then the DEC protected wetlands and trout stream on the property.
We are being surveyed about possible geo-thermal heating and cooling.
I am looking at several bio-mass boilers that can burn wet (under 60% humidity) spent grains.
Working with local farmers to raise livestock with our spent grain.
We are also building a malting house, where we will malt some of our grains, and contract malt for others.
Basically, my business partner and I are designing a showpiece of green and clean agriculture based food/beverage industry.
We will be starting construction in late Winter or early Spring.
I am very interested in using anaerobic digestion to power my distillery. All spend grain, pot ale, spent yeast, and stillage can be converted to methane to power a generator or boiler with a very usable fertilizer as a by product. A couple scotch distilleries and a few Rum distilleries do this. I have put this on a back burner in order to focus my energy on the product as opposed to the waste but I want to get back to it at some point.
There are two obstacles for me. One is financial: I was quoted an off the cuff $1M capital investment from 2 different sources. The other is that I'm in an urban area and most of the systems in America are geared to the livestock industry and consequently are bulky outdoor applications. One of the people I spoke to didn't want to go anywhere near the project because they thought it could never get approval from an urban government.
I saw an article when I was visiting Scotland about a Dutch company that specialized in discreet, indoor applications geared to the brewing and distilling industry. I tried to track it down when I got home but haven't found it again. If anyone knows of this company, please post! A medium sized dairy can run a generator 24hrs a day from an anaerobic digester and can use the cooling system of the generator to heat buildings etc.