BEIS funding to help UK distilleries explore green hydrogen applications


The European Marine Energy Centre is collaborating with distilleries to investigate green hydrogen heating as a clean fuel solution for decarbonisation.

The HySpirits 2 project has received £58,781 ($80,078) of funding from the UK government’s Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to produce a feasibility study, assessing a host of technologies that would enable the use of green hydrogen as fuel in the distilling process.

Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), HySpirits 2 brings together industry partners including global distilling group Edrington and local craft distillery Orkney Distilling Ltd.

Both partners have extensive sectoral knowledge and will deliver end-user data inputs as well as supporting the development of a market roll-out strategy.

The partnership is completed by Edinburgh Napier University, with its industrial decarbonisation team leading the pilot study design and hydrogen technology assessments.

During the feasibility study, all project partners will contribute to scoping a pilot demonstration to take forward into the next phase of the project.

Funding for the project was awarded through the BEIS Green Distilleries Competition, a £10 million ($13.6 million) fund aiming to help UK distilleries decarbonise through innovative fuel switching projects, including those focusing on low carbon fuels such as hydrogen.

Phase 1 of the competition focuses on technology feasibility while Phase 2 of the programme will target real-world technology demonstration for selected projects.

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The grant award follows on from the first HySpirits project completed last year, which investigated the feasibility of using a hydrogen-fuelled thermal fluid heating solution to decarbonise the distilling process in The Orkney Distillery.

HySpirits 2 will build on this work, broadening the investigation by assessing four different technology pathways to facilitate green hydrogen fuel-switching in the distilling sector.

The technologies to be assessed within the project include; thermal fluid technology, steam technology, direct burn technology and dual-fuel technology.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 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.”

James Walker, Hydrogen Manager at EMEC, said: “HySpirits 2 is a really exciting project, offering us the opportunity to evaluate innovative applications for green hydrogen in the decarbonisation of distilling, which is a sector of great importance to the economy in Scotland, and within Orkney.