Seventeen distilling projects receive government green funding

Seventeen distilling projects in England and Scotland have received the first phase of a £10 million government-backed funding project to help them switch to low carbon fuels.

The hydrogen-powered Orkney Distillery, part of the HySpirits project led by European Marine Energy Centre

The scheme, which was first announced in last year’s budget, aims to help UK distilleries to cut emissions by almost a million tonnes of CO2 every year, the equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.

Eleven projects in Scotland and six in England have been chosen to partake in the first phase, and will each receive between £44,000 and £75,000 to fund different green projects, such as the creation of a low emission hydrogen boiler and a geothermal distillery.

The project forms part of the government’s strategy to achieve net-zero greenhouse gases in the UK by 2050.

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.”

Among those receiving the funding are John Fergus & Co, who will be given £71,812 to decarbonise the InchDairnie Distillery in Glenrothes; Protium Green Solutions, which has been awarded £57,464 to create a heating technology to help Bruichladdich distillery meet its 2025 net zero emissions target; and the Edrington Group, which will use its £56,930 to install high-temperature heat pumps at its Highland Park distillery and maltings in Kirkwall.

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%.”

Other recipients of phase one funding include Uist Distilling Company, which has received two grants (£44,572 and £40,539) to use hydrogen rather than steam to heat thermal oil and also construct a thermal heat store to allow its distillery to be run purely on electricity; Edinburgh-based Locogen, which will use its £43,325 to assess the feasibility of switching an operational distillery from fuel oil to hydrogen burners that provide direct process heat for distillation; Sunamp and Heriot Watt University, which will employ £61,412 to show the potential of phase change material thermal storage for reducing emissions; London’s Environmental Resources Management, which will use £68,951 to develop a plan for using liquid organic hydrogen carriers to transport hydrogen to distilleries; and Supercritical Solutions, which is pioneering a method to produce hydrogen on site with £53,000 in funding.

Other recipients include Vytok, which has been granted £57,688 to develop a ‘green’ heat pump to allow distilleries to switch from fossil fuels to electricity; the European Marine Energy Centre, which is working with Edrington and Orkney Distilling, and has been given £58,781 to facilitate ways to use ‘green’ hydrogen; Colorado Construction and Engineering, which has been given funding for two projects (£73,636 and £74,768) to develop dual fuel hydrogen/NG burners and a method of converting waste distillery draff and pot ale into renewable fuel; Bennamann, which has been given £46,620 to develop a fuel-switching solution involving fugitive methane; St Andrews Brewers, which will use £51,547 to create a way of using the heat generated by a university biomass heating system to power its distillation; and Protium Energy, which along with several partners including Highland Park distillery, will create a high temperature CO2–free process heat store. In addition, £75,000 is being used to create a geothermal distillery in Truro in Cornwall.

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