Getting into the spirit of going green: UK government announces cash boost for low-carbon distilleries

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Uk Sustainability

The UK government has announced new cash boost totalling nearly £9m ($12m) to help create low-carbon green distilleries.

An earlier funding round of more than £1m was used to kick-start green innovation projects across 12 distilleries in Scotland and five in England. These distilleries are now able to bid for further grants under the Green Distilleries competition.

In 2019, the UK distilleries industry grew by 20%, which the government says highlights the opportunity for the sector to be at the heart of a ‘green and resilient recovery’ from coronavirus.

Taking the production of whisky as an example, this directly produced around 530,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2018, with the majority of these emissions coming from the generation of heat for the distillation process. This accounts for more than 80% of the distillation industry’s fuel consumption – almost all of which is currently from fossil fuels.

In the first phase of funding, distilleries each received up to £75,000 to help them boost decarbonisation research and development, with schemes including the use of hydrogen and biofuel boilers and geothermal energy in their production processes.

The new round of grants will support successful distilleries to accelerate projects that decarbonise their production processes.

The UK’s 2020 budget included £10m for R&D to help decarbonise distilleries.

Phase 1 distillery projects

  1. Protium Green Solutions Limited, lead in London with a distillery partner in Islay: Using a low emission hydrogen boiler.
  2. Locogen Ltd, Edinburgh: Switching a distillery from fuel oil to hydrogen burners.
  3. Protium Energy Limited, Aberdeen: A high temperature heat store.
  4. Cornish Geothermal Distillery Company, Truro: Creating a geothermal distillery.
  5. European Marine Energy Centre, Orkney Islands: Assessing technology pathways to facilitate green hydrogen.
  6. Supercritical Solutions Ltd, lead in Horsham with a distillery partner in Glasgow: Electrolysers to enable fuel switching to zero emission sources.
  7. The Uist Distilling Company Ltd, The Isle of South Uist: Combination of a hydrogen burner and indirect heating of a thermal oil rather than steam.
  8. Colorado Construction and Engineering Ltd, Edinburgh: Hydrogen and dual hydrogen / biofuel burners for distilleries.
  9. Vytok Ltd, London: Heat pumps with water as the working fluid.
  10. The Uist Distilling Company Ltd, The Isle of South Uist: A high temperature heat store that would allow a distillery to be run purely on electricity.
  11. John Fergus & Co Ltd,  Glenrothes: The use of hydrogen on site to decarbonise process heat.
  12. The Edrington Group Ltd, Glasgow: An innovative stillhouse Condenser Hot Water Recovery System.
  13. St Andrews Brewers Limited, Glasgow: A combination of heat pumps, green hydrogen and biomass.
  14. Bennamann Ltd, Cornwall: Use of fugitive methane as fuel.
  15. Sunamp Ltd, Edinburgh: A large-scale phase change material thermal store.
  16. Environmental Resources Management Limited, London: Liquid organic hydrogen carriers.
  17. Colorado Construction and Engineering Ltd, Edinburgh: The conversion of waste distillery draff and pot ale into a gasification-gas.

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