NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Modern Banff cereal mill becomes directly wind powered

Mornflake windmill and factory
Image caption The owners of the mill say they have gone back to their roots

Windmills were once a common sight in the countryside, with majestic sails turning the grind stones to create flour.

However that largely died in its traditional sense and now it is mainly just electricity generating wind turbines which fill skylines.

In Aberdeenshire the two have been combined to create a mill directly powered by the wind.

The owners of the Mornflake oat cereal mill in Banff say they have gone back to their roots by investing £3.5m in the project.

The turbine sits 100m from the site and the electricity generated is used to power the wheels which grind the grain.

The firm believes it is the first in the world to be directly powered by the wind.

'No loss'

It generates four-times more electricity than it uses and the rest, from the 2.3 megawatt turbine, is sold to the National Grid.

James Lea, a director of the company, said he believed the factory was unique.

The family owned business was started in 1675 and has been passed through 15 generations.

Mr Lea told BBC Scotland: "We think it's the first in the world.

"A lot of industry, or even mills, may well purchase renewable power from the National Grid but that really means the power is generated up to hundreds of miles away and it's really a piece of paper to say they are buying it.

"What makes us different is that the mill is directly linked to the power generation so there is no loss of power on the way."

The company said the investment would save 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

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