Yoichi Distillery adds a biogas power plant

Hokkaido Shimbun reports that Nikka Whisky’s Yoichi Distillery has recently built a biogas plant that captures methane from the distillery’s wastewater and converts it to electricity. The small plant produces 150kWh and the electricity is sold to HEPCO. 

It’s no secret that whisky distilleries require a shitload of power and water. Typically, the majority of that water ends up going to waste. In fact, up to 20 liters of this water — referred to as stillage or distillery wastewater — is produced per liter of ethanol.

What’s more, that stillage is not something you want to just throw down the drain. It contains a lot of both organic and inorganic compounds, and isn’t very biodegradable.

Nikka Whisky’s Yoichi Distillery is the latest to implement a relatively new solution to the problem: upgrade the wastewater to make biomethane via a process called anaerobic digestion. The biomethane is then used to generate electricity.

The distillery’s biogas electric plant was just completed in October 2020. Although the plant is quite small — 150kWh is about enough power for 18-20 homes — it’s great to see Nikka being more friendly to the environment!

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