Highland Park Distillery And The Orkney Distillery Go Green With Hydrogen

In partnership with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Highland Park Distillery and The Orkney Distillery are set to go green with the HySpirits 2 project.

The project has received £58,781 ($80, 279.39 USD) of funding from the UK Government’s Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to produce a feasibility study, assessing a variety of technologies that would enable the use of green hydrogen as fuel in the distilling process. Bringing together leading industry partners, including global distilling group Edrington, owners of Highland Park Distillery; and craft distillery Orkney Distilling Ltd., the project will have extensive sectoral knowledge, as well as deliver end-user data inputs and support the development of a market roll-out strategy.

The Orkney Distillery

The Orkney Distillery (image via European Marine Energy Centre)

“Hydrogen offers a potentially very compelling alternative fuel for producing high-grade heat in industry,” Hydrogen Manager of EMEC James Walker said in a prepared statement. “With many distilleries located in remote areas off the natural gas network and using fuel oils to generate process heat for malting and distilling, there is great scope for applying the findings from our project to a cross-section of the wider industry.”

Edinburgh Napier University is also taking part in the project with their industrial decarbonization 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 fund aiming to help UK distilleries decarbonize through fuel switching projects, including focus on low carbon fuels such as hydrogen. Phase 1 of the competition focused on technology feasibility with Phase 2 of the program targeting real-world technology demonstration for selected projects. The winners of the competition were announced early January 2021 with 17 distilleries receiving the first phase of £10 million government funding to go green.

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“Orcadians have been at the forefront of energy innovation now for generations, and we are extremely pleased to be a part of this further Orcadian collaboration which will serve to strengthen connections between EMEC’s ground-breaking green hydrogen development and the local distillery sector,” Director of Orkney Distilling Limited Stephen Kemp noted.

The grant award follows the first HySpirits project completed last year, which investigated the feasibility of using a hydrogen-fuelled thermal fluid heating solution to decarbonize the distilling process in The Orkney Distillery. HySpirits 2 will build on the first project’s work by assessing four different technology pathways to facilitate green hydrogen fuel-switching in the distilling sector.