Whisky-fed salmon to boost sustainability
The whisky and salmon industries in Scotland are about to embark on an innovative new partnership which will convert
waste from whisky production into feed for salmon and fish farming.
Over 500 million litres of whisky are produced in the UK each year. But for every litre of whisky produced, up to 15
litres of potentially harmful waste can be generated1.
Chemical engineers from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland are looking to solve this problem by converting some of the
waste into protein-rich feed, which could have the added benefit of providing a sustainable and economic supply of
feedstock for the growing Scottish fish farming industry.
A pilot plant trial of the Horizons Proteins project is scheduled for August 2014 in a whisky distillery to assess the economic, nutritional, environmental and
chemical engineering processes involved in large scale production of the proteins.
David Brown, chief executive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), said: “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.
“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.”
The role of chemical engineers in the food and drink sector is explored in IChemE’s latest technical strategy, Chemical Engineering Matters. The strategy also includes actions chemical engineers are taking on other global challenges including water, energy and
About chemical engineers
Chemical, biochemical and process engineering is the application of science, maths and economics to the process of
turning raw materials into everyday products. Professional chemical engineers design, construct and manage process
operations all over the world. Pharmaceuticals, food and drink, synthetic fibres and clean drinking water are just some
of the products where chemical engineering plays a central role.
The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) is the hub for chemical, biochemical and process engineering
professionals worldwide. With a growing global membership of over 38,000, the Institution is at the heart of the process
community, promoting competence and a commitment to best practice, advancing the discipline for the benefit of society,
encouraging young people in science and engineering and supporting the professional development of its members. Further
1 Distillery spent wash: Treatment technologies and potential applications. Sarayu Mohana, Bhavik K. Acharya, Datta
Madamwar, BRD School of Biosciences, Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar 388120, Gujarat, India.