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Four UK distilleries receive share of £11.3m government fund

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The UK Government has granted £11.3 million (€13.3 million) in funding to help four UK distilleries switch from fossil fuels to hydrogen and biogas.

The multi-million-pound investment into low-carbon green distilleries will see four projects receive a share of the funding to decarbonise their distilling processes for the UK’s iconic whiskies and spirits.

The distilleries sector has the potential to cut carbon emissions by half a million tonnes annually – equivalent to emissions from powering more than 60,000 homes or taking around 100,000 cars off the road.

Supported through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, the winners are as follows:

Protium Green Solutions, which is developing a system that uses hydrogen as a fuel source rather than oil in whisky production at the Bruichladdich Distillery on the Isle of Islay – received £2,650,041 (€3,134,991);

Locogen, whose project at Arbikie Highland Estate Distillery near Arbroath will develop and install a green hydrogen energy system at the distillery, comprising a wind turbine, electrolyser, hydrogen storage, and hydrogen boiler system – received £3 million (€3.58 million);

Colorado Construction and Engineering, based near Livingston near Edinburgh, is developing a novel biofuel batch gasification system – received £2,723,303 (€3,221,660);

Supercritical Solutions, a clean-tech start-up business is developing the world’s first high-pressure ultra-efficient electrolyser to generate green hydrogen as a feedstock for the distilling process working with Beam Suntory at its Glen Garioch distillery in Aberdeenshire – received £2,944,778

In the first phase of the competition, 17 projects received up to £75,000 (€88,700) each to help boost research and development for decarbonisation projects. Phase 2 will enable the four chosen projects to progress their decarbonisation plans.

Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, Karen Batts, added: “This funding is a welcome boost for the industry at a time when Scotch whisky companies are already working hard to reduce their emissions. As a result, nearly 40% of the industry’s energy is now coming from renewable sources. But we know we need to go further and faster, and that’s where the Green Distilleries Competition is so critical since it supports companies in testing new technologies.

“The results of the work undertaken through the competition are then shared across the sector, which helps everyone to map further our path to net zero. This is exactly the sort of industry-government partnership that will help us to secure a sustainable future for Scotch Whisky and for the communities across Scotland within which we work.”