Whisky Gets Into the Spirit of Building Back Greener with Hydrogen

By January 8, 2021 5   min read  (984 words)

January 8, 2021 |

fuelcellsworks, hydrogen and distillery, whisky, Jericho Energy Ventures, fuel cells

£10 million fund to help UK’s world-famous distilleries go green by switching to low carbon fuels such as hydrogen.

  • UK distilleries raise a toast to government’s green industrial revolution in first phase of funding to cut carbon emissions and support new green jobs
  • £10 million fund to help UK’s world-famous distilleries go green by switching to low carbon fuels such as hydrogen
  • funding to enable distilleries to cut emissions by almost a million tonnes of CO2 every year – equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road

Whisky and spirit lovers are raising a glass to the delivery of new government funding that will ensure they can enjoy their favourite tipple without it costing the earth.

Producers in one of the UK’s most iconic industries will be playing their part in reducing carbon emissions, with 17 distilleries today receiving the first phase of £10 million government funding to go green.

Eleven distilleries across Scotland and a further 6 in England will be able to kick-start green innovations thanks to the government backing, helping them harness energy sources such as low-carbon hydrogen, biomass and repurposed waste to power their operations.

The successful distilleries will receive between £44,000 and £75,000 in the first phase of funding, helping them boost decarbonisation research and development, with schemes including the use of hydrogen and biofuel boilers and geothermal energy in their production processes.

The funding will help prevent pollution equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, said:

Building back greener from the pandemic is something we can all raise a toast to.

Every business can play a part in the green industrial revolution and this funding will allow UK distilleries to lead the way by making their production cleaner while also creating jobs.

In 2019, the UK distilleries industry grew by 20%, highlighting the opportunity for the sector to be at the heart of the UK’s green and resilient recovery from coronavirus.

The Scotch whisky industry supports 40,000 jobs across the UK, with more than 10,000 people directly employed in Scotland.

With 7,000 of these jobs in rural Scottish areas, today’s funding will drive forward support for net-zero innovation in some geographically remote parts of the UK, creating more jobs and skills and providing opportunities for distilleries to develop their fuel transportation and storage technologies.

The announcement is another example of government commitment to build back greener and work towards the UK’s goal of reaching net zero by 2050 and comes in addition to the ambitious green targets announced in the Ten Point Plan and Energy White Paper.

UK government Scotland Minister, Iain Stewart said:

It is fantastic to see so many Scottish distilleries awarded this UK government funding. Scotland is world famous for its whisky and gin, with the spirits industry one of our greatest success stories.

This new funding will help the industry continue to build on its great work in tackling climate change.

From Aberdeen and Glasgow to Orkney and South Uist, this funding will help create jobs, support local businesses and communities and build back greener ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year.

Dagmar Droogsma, Director of Industry at the Scotch Whisky Association, said:

The Green Distilleries Fund is an important step on the industry’s journey towards net-zero. It will help the industry test new technologies, like hydrogen, which can be rolled out at scale in future years and enable Scotch Whisky to further drive down emissions and protect the natural environment.

With COP26 taking place in Glasgow this year, the Scotch whisky industry has ambitious plans to build on the success of the last decade when distilleries cut greenhouse gas emissions by 34%. There is more to do, but with continued support from government the Scotch whisky industry can continue to work towards a more sustainable future.

Notes to editors

  • The Green Distilleries competition supports the government’s approach for a clean, resilient recovery across the UK to support the creation of new jobs in the distillery sector
  • in the 2020 Budget, £10 million was allocated to R&D to help decarbonise UK distilleries
  • find more information about the Green Distilleries Competition
  • the funding for the Green Distilleries competition is part of the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative low-carbon technologies, systems and processes in the power, buildings and industrial sectors

Successful phase 1 distilleries

Name Funding Location Detail
Protium Green Solutions Limited £73,818 Lead in London with a distillery partner in Islay Using a low emission hydrogen boiler.
Locogen Ltd £43,325 Edinburgh Switching a distillery from fuel oil to hydrogen burners.
Protium Energy Limited £57,464 Aberdeen A high temperature heat store.
Cornish Geothermal Distillery Company £75,000 Truro Creating a geothermal distillery.
European Marine Energy Centre £58,781 Orkney Islands Assessing technology pathways to facilitate green hydrogen.
Supercritical Solutions Ltd £53,000 Lead in Horsham with a distillery partner in Glasgow Electrolysers to enable fuel switching to zero emission sources.
The Uist Distilling Company Ltd £44,572 The Isle of South Uist Combination of a hydrogen burner and indirect heating of a thermal oil rather than steam.
Colorado Construction and Engineering Ltd £73,636.80 Edinburgh Hydrogen and dual hydrogen/biofuel burners for distilleries.
Vytok Ltd £57,688.00 London Heat pumps with water as the working fluid.
The Uist Distilling Company Ltd £40,539.23 The Isle of South Uist A high temperature heat store that would allow a distillery to be run purely on electricity.
John Fergus & Co Ltd £71,812.55 Glenrothes The use of hydrogen on site to decarbonise process heat.
The Edrington Group Ltd £56,930.00 Glasgow An innovative stillhouse Condenser Hot Water Recovery System.
St Andrews Brewers Limited £51,547.00 Glasgow A combination of heat pumps, green hydrogen and biomass.
Bennamann Ltd £46,620.11 Cornwall Use of fugitive methane as fuel.
Sunamp Ltd £61,412.50 Edinburgh A large-scale phase change material thermal store.
Environmental Resources Management Limited £68,951.00 London Liquid organic hydrogen carriers.
Colorado Construction and Engineering Ltd £74,768.10 Edinburgh The conversion of waste distillery draff and pot ale into a gasification-gas.

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