First hydrogen-powered gin distillery gains government funding

The UK government is funding a project to convert a gin distillery in Orkney in Scotland from using liquid petroleum gas to ‘green’ hydrogen in order to make the distillation process more eco-friendly.

The endeavour, being conducted by The Orkney Distillery as part of its ‘HySpirits’ project, has gained the funds as part of a £390 million government investment in hydrogen and low carbon technology which will help to achieve the UK’s goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

If successful, it is believed Orkney’s distillery will be the first to use hydrogen from renewables to power the production process. Having received £148,600 from the government, Orkney is collaborating with Edinburgh Napier University and the European Marine Energy Centre’s plant, which uses wind and tidal power to produce hydrogen.

This so-called ‘green’ hydrogen will, if successful, reduce the distillery’s emissions by 86 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent amount of energy required to power 10 homes or 18 cars for a year.

The government hopes that the project will “show how the UK’s growing craft brewing [and distillery] industry can switch from using fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives”.

Climate change minister, Lord Duncan, said: “It’s great to know we can all enjoy an environmentally friendly tipple while helping our planet as we press towards a net zero emissions economy by 2050.

“Developing hydrogen technology has the potential to not only reduce emissions from industry, but could also help us seize the opportunities of the global shift to cleaner economies – with the prize of up 2 million jobs and £170 billion of annual exports by 2030.”

Orkney is one of 20 businesses to have secured a share of £40 million that the government has allocated towards exploring how hydrogen can be used across the UK.

Stephen Kemp, director of Orkney Distilling, said: “As we look to the future development of The Orkney Distillery and our product offering, it is essential that we innovate in order to drive a low-carbon, energy-efficient spirit production process.

“This collaboration with EMEC and Edinburgh Napier University is incredibly exciting, and a world first for the industry.”

Orkney opened its new distillery in Kirkwall’s historic harbour front last year.

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