Maker's Mark, the bourbon maker, has flipped the switch on an innovative waste-to-energy project at its Loretto, Ky., distillery.
Instead of drying old leftover stillage (the slopping grain goop that remains after making bourbon) for use as cattle feed, Maker's Mark will digest it with the help of Ecovation technology, producing as much as 30% of the electricity needed to run the facility. Better still, the methane a potent greenhouse gas that would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere will be burned to generate electricity.
Similar projects have made municipal landfills into electricity generating station, zeroing what would otherwise be a big contributor to global warming pollution.
The new system came on line just a little too late to take advantage of Kentucky Derby hoopla, when mint juleps are all the rage ... but Maker's Mark doesn't seem too concerned. It expects sales to grow enough to increase capacity at its distillery more than 160% over the next 10 years.
As it grows, its waste will go to good use.
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