Did you know ... that you could have a swig of geothermal rum in the near future?
In Cornwall, United Kingdom, Matthew Clifford has big dreams to start up a rum distillery powered solely by the natural geothermal resources. Alcohol distillation takes up a lot of energy, so Clifford decided that he would attempt to power his idea with the heat from under the ground.
In the rum production process, energy is expended 24/7 and the need to keep everything temperature controlled can be extremely intensive over the long period of time that’s required to produce alcohol. Therefore, the Celsius Project had the idea to power the process with geothermal energy. Geothermal is available around the clock regardless of outdoor conditions or energy shortages, perfectly fitting the needs for distilling alcohol.
In Cornwall, the rocks under ground are hotter than anywhere else in the United Kingdom, which is why Clifford targeted that area for his project. The Celsius Project plans to use the heat from the “hot rocks” to heat the buildings needed for production and storage. They also have plans to use the “waste heat”, which is the by-product of turning the energy generated from the geothermal power into electricity. Their goal is to produce zero-carbon renewable power once the site is up and running.
Unfortunately, the project ran into a bit of a snag which has forced the owner to look for a different location. The original project site at the United Downs in Cornwall has been in disrepair for many years and has partially been used as a landfill. Although the plan was originally approved, the proposal received resistance when fans of stock car racing stepped in. A portion of United Downs is a raceway beloved by many racing fans in the area. The Cornwall Council stepped in and told Clifford he could not build the distillery there, despite already having received approval a few months prior.
Now, the Celsius Project is without a home. There has not been a new site chosen yet, and the project has moved into a smaller version of itself inside a handful of shipping containers, which are currently housed near Penryn. While a geothermal rum toast for New Year’s 2023 was unavailable, if Clifford is able to find a new location to permanently house the project and get it off the ground, there may be a chance ‘hot’ rum could be available for New Year’s Day, 2024.
We’ll drink to that!