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    Bottoms Up! Danes Convert Scotch Into Energy in Lucrative Scheme

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    Many connoisseurs consider imbibing Scotch whisky to be a refreshing and energizing experience. It is a little-known fact, however, that whisky can literally be used as a source of energy, and a lucrative one at that.

    The Scottish Highlands are renowned for their poetic scenery, majestic misty glens, excellent fishing and world-class whisky. Incidentally, it's the whisky part that attracted a Danish biorefinery that produces green energy.

    In the wee hamlet of Rothes, northwest of Aberdeen, the Danish company Aalborg Energie Technik runs a biorefinery that helps utilize tons of waste products from local distilleries (locally known as "mask"), Danish news outlet Copenhagen Post reported.

    "The mask has to be dried before it can be incinerated, which is why we have delivered a plant for drying that uses the surplus heat from the energy production," Hans Erik Askou, the head of Aalborg Energie Technik, told the Danish Confederation for Industry (DI).

    The whisky-processing biorefinery is only one of the 20 that Aalborg Energie Technik runs across Europe, including in its home country Denmark, France, England, Italy, Austria and Germany. According to Hans Erik Askou, each of them has been adapted to work in local conditions.

    Bioenergy, which at first may sound like an eco-friendly whim or a PR-stunt, is in fact a lucrative business in Denmark, accounting for billions of kroner and thousands of jobs, while helping utilizing food waste. Aalborg Energie Technik is only one of 1,200 Danish companies working with bioenergy completely or partially. In total, bioenergy is a booming sector with an annual turnover of 25 billion DKK ($3.6bln). The industry generates 11,500 jobs and exports worth 8 billion DKK ($1.2bln) a year.

    While Danes are not the nation that one automatically associates with whiskey (unlike the Irish or the Scots), they are known to have been waging a not-so-serious "whiskey war" with Canada for decades. The good-natured territorial dispute concerns barren and desolate Hans Island, situated in the middle of the 22-mile wide Nares Strait, which separates Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark, from Canada. However, the rival nations never let the "war" degenerate into a real conflict. Officials from both countries are known to have established a tradition of leaving bottles of alcoholic beverages together with welcoming notes for the rivaling party since the 1930s, giving the "war" its name.

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    environment, bioenergy cluster, whisky, Scandinavia, Scotland, Denmark
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