“And malt does more than Milton can / To justify God’s ways to man.”

For whisky aficionados, poet A.E. Housman got it right. (Never mind that he was actually talking about beer…)

In the famous whisky-producing region of Speyside, though, single malts do more than fuel late-night philosophy debates—they’ll eventually fuel electricity production for the area.

That’s because a biomass plant has just been approved in the village of Rothes, and involves—you guessed it—single malt. Or, rather, the byproducts from producing single malt.

Here’s how it works. The plant takes spent grains from 16 of the region’s 50 distilleries, combines them with woodchips, and burns them to produce enough electricity to power 9,000 homes. And to take the recycling even further, the plant will make animal feed and fertilizer from “pot ale,” which is residue left over from the distilling process.

The plant, which is due to be completed in 2013, will output 7.2 MW, about the equivalent of two large wind turbines. It’s estimated that the plant will save approximately 46,000 tons of carbon dioxide, compared to a coal-fired plant.

The distilleries that will be supplying spent grains for the plant are some of Scotland’s most famous, including Glenlivet, Chivas Regal, Famous Grouse and Macallan.

(And if you’re interested in electricity, check out our latest how-to post and find out how to make money by conserving electricity.)

Image credit: yvescosentino