The Glenmorangie Company has appointed United Utilities to build an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at its distillery in Tain, Scotland.

Glenmorangie has implemented the project as part of a drive towards sustained environmental improvement. Construction work has started with the plant due to be operational in summer 2016.

The new AD facility will reduce current Chemical Oxygen Demand output in distillery waste water by up to 95 per cent and by doing so create methane gas. The gas will replace some of the fossil fuels currently used at the distillery to heat the stills in which the spirit is made.

Sue Amies-King, director of retail at United Utilities, said: "Glenmorangie is a globally-recognised brand with a fascinating heritage and a premium product, so the prospect of helping develop its business and production methods for the modern age is enormously exciting.

"Anaerobic digestion has huge potential in its ability to help businesses make use of waste products and create more sustainable organisations. Our experience of this technology was a significant factor in Glenmorangie’s decision to award us the contract.

"Scotland and the UK as a whole has a very strong spirits industry and we believe there are real opportunities for companies to invest in renewable energy technologies like AD in a way which will benefit their businesses, customers and the environment."

The AD site will improve the standards of water discharged into the nearby Dornoch Firth, preserving the unique biodiversity of the area.

Wastewater treatment specialist Aquabio is the Glenmorangie nominated AD technology provider and will supply the anaerobic treatment system and biogas handling, as well as mechanical and electrical work, for the facility in Tain. The low-energy AD system is a sustainable process which minimises the use of chemicals and allows all the biomass to be separated, using innovative membrane technology, and contained within the system.