Distilleries look to go green with government funding


The government has announced that 17 distilleries have been awarded the first phase of funding under the £10mn Green Distilleries programme.

On 8 January, BEIS revealed 11 distilleries across Scotland, along with a further six in England, had been given funding to embrace green innovations and switch to low carbon fuels, such as hydrogen, biomass and repurposed waste. The successful distilleries* will receive between £44,000 and £75,000 during the first phase of funding, supporting them in boosting decarbonisation research and deployment.

With the UK distilleries industry growing by 20% in 2019, the government stressed it has an opportunity to be “at the heart” of the UK’s green, resilient recovery from Covid-19. With 7,000 of the 40,000 jobs across the UK the Scotch whisky industry supports being in rural Scotland, the government said the funding will drive forward support for net zero innovation in some of the most remote parts of the UK, leading to more jobs, skills and opportunities for distilleries as they develop fuel and storage technologies.

The Green Distilleries programme, announced by Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, during his 2020 Budget speech, is part of the £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio which aims to accelerate commercialisation of innovative low carbon technologies, systems and processes in the power, buildings and industrial sectors. It is taking a portfolio approach and aiming to fund a range of different solutions, such as electrification and hydrogen, as well as enabling technologies, which could include fuel conversion, transportation or storage.

*The 17 successful phase 1 distilleries and their projects:

  • Protium Green Solutions, lead in London with a distillery partner in Islay, awarded £73,818 for using a low emission hydrogen boiler.
  • Locogen in Edinburgh, awarded £43,325 for switching a distillery from fuel oil to hydrogen burners.
  • Protium Energy in Aberdeen, awarded £57,464 for a high temperature heat store.
  • Cornish Geothermal Distillery in Truro, awarded £75,000 for creating a geothermal distillery.
  • European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney Islands, awarded £58,781 for assessing technology pathways to facilitate green hydrogen.
  • Supercritical Solutions, lead in Horsham with a distillery partner in Glasgow, awarded £53,000 for electrolysers to enable fuel switching to zero emission sources.
  • The Uist Distilling Company in the Isle of South Uist, awarded £44,572 for the combination of a hydrogen burner and indirect heating of thermal oil rather than steam.
  • Colorado Construction and Engineering in Edinburgh, awarded £73,636.80 for hydrogen and dual hydrogen/biofuel burners for distilleries.
  • Vytok in London, awarded £57,688 for heat pumps with water as the working fluid.
  • The Uist Distilling Company in the Isle of South Uist, awarded £40,539.23 for a high temperature heat store that would allow a distillery to run purely on electricity.
  • John Fergus & Co in Glenthroes, awarded £71,812.55 for the use of hydrogen on site to decarbonise process heat.
  • The Erdington Group in Glasgow, awarded £56,930 for an innovative stillhouse Condenser Hot Water Recovery System.
  • St Andrews Brewers in Glasgow, awarded £51,547 for a combination of heat pumps, green hydrogen and biomass.
  • Bennamann in Cornwall, awarded £46,620.11 for use of fugitive methane as a fuel.
  • Sunamp in Edinburgh, awarded £61,412.50 for a large-scale phase change material thermal store.
  • Environmental Resources Management in London, awarded £68,951 for liquid organic hydrogen carriers.
  • Colorado Construction and Engineering in Edinburgh, awarded £74,768.10 for the conversion of a waste distillery draff and pot ale into a gasification gas.