EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND — Biotech company MiAlgae recently formed a partnership with Scottish whisky distillery Falkirk Distillery to further the circular economy and create sustainable ingredients for use in animal nutrition. The partnership will allow Falkirk to reduce its carbon and water consumption.
Founded more than 10 years ago, Falkirk produces about 200,000 liters of whisky annually. Through the partnership, MiAlgae will process Falkirk’s whisky byproducts at its facility in Balfron, Stirlingshire, and use them as a feedstock to grow microalgae. The organisms will then be transformed into an Omega 3-rich ingredients for use in animal and pet nutrition.
“Over the past ten years, we’ve invested everything into setting up the distillery and creating a magnificent, high-quality spirit,” said Fiona Stewart, co-founder and director of Falkirk. “We’re absolutely delighted to have achieved this goal and now, our next step is to become greener and to strengthen our commitment to the environment by having sustainable values embedded in our company.
“When we first spoke to MiAlgae, it was a breath of fresh air,” she added. “We know that they can help us to get where we want to be as we scale up and explore ways to reduce our carbon and water footprint. Whilst we offload our byproducts and reduce waste levels, MiAlgae will gain the ingredients needed to successfully manufacture its Omega 3 product, so it's a win-win.”
Omega 3 fatty acids are typically produced by extracting oil from billions of wild-caught fish, causing strain on biodiversity and the environment. Leveraging novel biotechnology, MiAlgae seeks to do away with this method by using coproducts from the food and beverage industry to develop feedstock to grow microalgae rich in Omega 3 oils and antioxidants. The technology essentially eliminates complete reliance on wild-caught fish, reduces carbon emissions and aids in the biosecurity of ocean life, according to MiAlgae.
“Falkirk Distillery fits in perfectly with our strategy and values, so we’re excited to have progressed this agreement with them,” said Johann Partridge, Ph.D., operations director at MiAlgae. “What really stands out to us about the Falkirk team is their authenticity. It’s clear that they feel strongly about reducing the distillery’s overall impact on the world, and they operate at the cutting edge of a better and more sustainable whisky industry.
“It’s great to be working with an independent distillery that truly wants to make a difference, and we’re looking forward to working with them on this impactful project for years to come,” she added.
MiAlgae and Falkirk’s partnership is already underway.
“Securing a sustainable future is a central priority of the Scotch Whisky industry, and the whole sector is committed to our refreshed sustainability strategy which focuses on four key pillars to tackling climate change across the supply chain: reducing emissions, using water more efficiently, caring for the land, and playing our part in the circular economy,” said Anna Graham, head of environment, science and innovation at the Scotch Whisky Association. “It is always inspiring to see companies’ investment in innovative sustainable solutions that bridge a number of these pillars, such as this collaboration between Falkirk Distillery and MiAlgae, and we look forward to seeing the project’s progress as it moves forward.”
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