Maltings Powered by a Hot Sedimentary Aquifer


Date: Jun 2017 – Feb 2018
Location: Moray Coast, Scotland
Client: Private Sector
Stage: Feasibility

TRE assessed the geothermal energy potential of the Devonian sandstones extending c. 3,000 m deep below a whisky distiller’s malting facility in the north of Scotland which supplies malted barley to many distilleries in Speyside. The malting process uses considerable amounts of low-grade heat which could be supplied by low carbon geothermal resources. Other opportunities to use geothermal heat were also investigated including pre-heating of water used in other parts of the distilling or ancillary processes.

The project was estimated to provide a range of between 15% and 50% of the total 800 – 1000 MWh per week heat demand, offsetting the current fuel oil heat source. The uncertainty in the flow rate achievable from such a depth, compounded by the high CAPEX, meant that despite potential upside of a 3-year payback with substantial CO2 emissions savings, the client was unable to proceed. The client may invite TRE to revisit the project in a few years to reconsider if the economics have improved due to policy, energy prices, carbon prices or other factors. In the meantime, the client is installing gas boilers so that trucks can deliver gas instead of fuel oil, roughly halving the plant’s operational carbon footprint.