Pernod Ricard in push for net-zero, invests US$52M to phase out fossil fuels at Irish distillery

IRELAND – French alcoholic beverage company Pernod Ricard has announced plans to invest € 50 million (US$52million) into the Midleton Distillery over the next four years to shift operations to carbon-neutral by the end of 2026.

The investment in the project will enable Ireland’s largest distillery to phase out the use of fossil fuels, scope 1 and scope 2 carbon emissions, and become the first and largest carbon-neutral distillery in Ireland.

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The carbon-neutral roadmap for Midleton Distillery will involve the rollout of several projects aimed firstly at reducing overall energy use by improving on-site energy generation efficiency and recycling waste heat in the distillation process.

In time, the distillery’s remaining energy requirements will be fulfilled by generating power from renewable sources. 

As part of the initial phases of the roadmap, the Irish Distillers, Pernod Ricard’s subsidiary in Ireland, has already invested in boilers that require less fuel.

The subsidiary also revealed that Pernod Ricard aims to use Mechanical Vapor Recompression (MVR) technology to create a closed-looped system that will capture, compress and recycle its waste heat during distillation.

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The innovative MVR technology to be delivered in the subsequent phases of the roadmap is through a working partnership of Irish Distillers with global experts and partners on the same technological platform.

“This is the largest investment made by an Irish distillery to date in pursuit of this ambition, putting Midleton Distillery on track to become Ireland’s first and largest carbon-neutral distillery.”

The first three phases of the project target to reduce the emissions by up to 70% while the final phase will address the remaining 30%.

This phase includes the introduction of renewable sources of energy, including green hydrogen and biogas to power the distillery and close the door on natural gas usage as its alternative power sources.

To achieve this, Irish Distillers has partnered with local experts at EI-H2 to explore opportunities to source green hydrogen. 

Irish Distillers chief executive and chairman Conor McQuaid said: “We understand that our long-term future depends on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. However, we are confident that by making this bold and brave move into the future, we will leave fossil fuels behind for good.”

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 Through the delivery of this plan, we hope to play our part in supporting Ireland’s decarbonizing strategy while also aligning with Pernod Ricard’s commitment to follow a Net Zero trajectory by 2050.”

The decision of the distillery to move to carbon neutrality follows extensive research in partnership with MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate, and Marine, to determine the biomethane potential of the byproducts of distillation.

The partners are hosted by University College Cork to design the required anaerobic digestion process necessary to produce biogas.

In the context of the company’s broader sustainability goal, Pernod Ricard has completed a mapping exercise of its carbon footprint and committed to working with suppliers on projects.

The sustainability goal will also encompass the initiatives to reduce scope 3 supplier emissions across all areas of its business, including raw materials, dry goods, transportation, logistics, and freight.

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