Scotland is about to embark on quite the unusual partnership which will see the whisky and fish industries working together to convert co-products from whisky production into feed for salmon.
Whisky production in the UK each year exceeds 500 million litres of finished product, and for every litre of whisky produced, up to 15 litres of co-products can be generated.
Chemical engineers from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland are looking to convert some of the co-products produced by whisky production into protein-rich feed which could be used to provide a sustainable an economic supply of feedstock for Scotland’s growing fish farming industry.
A pilot trial project titled Horizons Proteins is scheduled to commence in August 2014 at a Scottish whisky distillery where the economic, nutritional, environmental and chemical engineering processes involved in large scale production of the proteins will be assessed.
“Distillery effluent can be damaging, but also contains potentially valuable nutrients and micronutrients. The waste can also be used to produce a microbial biomass which has the potential to be a cheap and sustainable source of protein-rich feed," said David Brown, chief executive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).
“The academic team at Heriot-Watt University have already been recognised for their excellent work by IChemE’s Food and Drink Special Interest Group. Their work and others looking at the microbial treatment of waste is very exciting and has many potential applications including crude oil recovery, healthcare and in environmental protection like bioremediation of sites affected by heavy metals and other contaminants.”
Note: copy edited from original posting