Diageo has begun building a GBP65m bioenergy facility designed to supply the majority of electricity and steam needs at the drinks giant's Cameronbridge Distillery.

Once complete, Diageo estimates the facility will reduce carbon emissions at the distillery by 56,000 tonnes, largely by supplying 80% of the distillery's electricity needs and 98% of its steam requirements. 

The firm, which owns Scotch brands such as Bell's, Johnnie Walker and Talisker, is building the plant in partnership with energy management company Dalkia.

The bioenergy plant will generate renewable energy from spent wash - a mixture of wheat, malted barley, yeast and water - produced during distillation. The spent wash is separated into liquid and dried solids. The liquid is then converted, via anaerobic digestion, into biogas and the dried solids form a biomass fuel source.

Diageo expects the plant to be operating in 2010. Cameronbridge is Scotland's second largest whisky distillery.