Bruichladdich has won a grant to explore the use of alternative non-fossil fuels at its distillery. The Islay distillery’s funding is part of the United Kingdom’s £10 million (US$13.5m) Green Distilleries fund.
The Small Business Research Initiative Green Distilleries Competition awarded more than £70,000 to Bruichladdich’s project partner, Protium Green Solutions, to complete a feasibility study on incorporating hydrogen combustion technology at its Islay facility. Bruichladdich has been exploring alternative fuel sources for some time now, and with the new funding, each viable option, including wind, solar and biomass power, will continue to be explored alongside a new hydrogen fuel feasibility project.
Protium Green Solutions, along with ITPEnergised and Deuterium, will investigate the possibility of deploying a hydrogen-fuelled combustion chamber to meet the distillery’s heating requirements. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2021 and is part of Phase One of the Green Distilleries competition. If tests are successful, the team could apply for Phase Two funding to install the combustion chamber and assess its industrial application.
“At Bruichladdich Distillery, we understand that there is real potential for a hydrogen-based solution to decarbonise our industry,” said Allan Logan, production director of Bruichladdich. “We are thrilled to have the support of Protium, Deuterium and ITPEnergised to help us assess the feasibility of employing a green hydrogen fuel switching solution for our distillery – a move we hope benefits the broader industry.”
The UK government’s Green Distilleries program aims to “kick-start green innovation” and will provide backing to UK distilleries to help them utilise energy sources such as low-carbon hydrogen, biomass and repurposed waste to power their operations. Phase one of the scheme will fund feasibility studies into developing technologies that enable the use of low-carbon fuel in production.
On January 8, 2021, the UK government announced it had given 17 distilleries funding as part of the first phase. Eleven distilleries in Scotland and six in England received between £44,000 ($59,400 USD) and £75,000 ($101,459 USD).
“Scotland is world famous for its whisky and gin, with the spirits industry one of our greatest success stories,” said Scotland minister Iain Stewart. “This new funding will help the industry continue to build on its great work in tackling climate change. From Aberdeen and Glasgow to Orkney and South Uist, this funding will help create jobs, support local businesses and communities and build back greener ahead of Cop 26 [United Nations Climate Change Conference] in Glasgow later this year.”
The Cornish Geothermal Distillery Company (CGDC) won the largest amount of Phase ONe funding, as it received £75,000 to build a carbon-neutral rum distillery and visitor center in Cornwall, which will be powered by geothermal energy. Funding for Bruichladdich to explore alternative fuels was the second largest given as part of the Green Distilleries program.