Water is critical to the operation of the reborn Annandale Distillery. It feeds the boilers that produce the steam to drive the stills, and further into the process it dilutes the cask strength spirit from approximately 65% ABV to about 40% ABV for bottling.
New water treatment process at Annandale Distillery
Both applications; boiler feed and spirit reduction need high quality water. Water for the boiler must be treated to prevent scaling and corrosion, whilst the spirit reduction water must not impart taste, colour or odour to Annandale's unique single malt whisky. The distillery had the choice of using mains water or its own on-site borehole, but which was the better option? They turned to Veolia Water Technologies (Veolia) for assistance.
A quick economic evaluation confirmed that a water treatment process for the borehole water would be the most beneficial option, avoiding the cost of installing a mains supply and ensuring a consistent source quality. Veolia's solution was to filter and soften the borehole water prior to a SirionTM Maxi reverse osmosis plant.
This water treatment process removes 95% of dissolved impurities and 99% of the natural organic matter into a waste stream of about 25% of the reverse osmosis feed. Some of the treated water, or permeate, is used directly for spirit reduction whilst the remainder is conditioned by the addition of a specially formulated Veolia Hydrex chemical solution, which combines oxygen removal and pH control for corrosion prevention together with scale inhibition.
Furthermore, Annandale Distillery wanted to reduce the wastewater volume from the plant to reduce discharge costs and conserve the borehole source. Veolia's Reco Solutions on-line calculator indicated that about 50% of it could be recovered cost-effectively using a SirionTM recovery reverse osmosis unit. This resulted in Annandale Distillery being self-sufficient in water and by adopting a sustainable approach, which minimises their water footprint.
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