Leading green hydrogen firm Protium has drawn up plans to decarbonise a renowned Scottish distillery.
Using a revolutionary piece of kit called a dynamic combustion chamber (DCC), patented by Jericho Energy Ventures, Bruichladdich Distillery will be able to axe its operational emissions.
It follows the completion of a feasibility study carried out at the beginning of the year.
Led by Protium, the pilot project will install innovative hydrogen combustion technology that will heat the stills used to create the famous dram.
The announcement marks a significant step forward in Bruichladdich’s ambition to decarbonise its distillation process by 2025.
The project also aims to demonstrate the ability to switch from fossil fuels to sustainable hydrogen energy technology.
The DCC operates with no smokestack and zero greenhouse gas emissions, and was identified by the Food and Drink Federation in their 2020 Net Zero report as a key technology for decarbonisation.
And its successful deployment could act as a blueprint for distilleries across the globe to reduce their carbon footprint.
Dubbed HyLaddie, the project must navigate the installation of state-of-the-art technology within the fully operational Victorian distillery, based on Islay in the Inner Hebrides.
As a certified B Corp, Bruichladdich, a favourite tipple of Hollywood star Harrison Ford, hopes the project will demonstrate the capability of hydrogen to encourage commercialisation across Islay.
Green hydrogen could provide a sustainable solution for the island’s remote location and infrastructure challenges.
Once Phase 2 of the project is completed, expected to be in summer 2023, it is envisioned that hydrogen and oxygen will be produced from a larger commercial scale electrolyser situated offsite that will operate alongside a new renewable energy project on the island.
Beyond distilling, hydrogen could be used to decarbonise road freight, aviation, and other industrial processes.
‘Sustainability is in our DNA’
Chris Jackson, chief executive of Protium, said: “We’re thrilled to be working together with Bruichladdich, one of our first Scottish clients, to decarbonise their distilling process and introduce hydrogen energy technology to Islay.
“Not only can Bruichladdich and The Botanist implement this technology to act as a beacon for sustainability in the spirits industry, but their deep community ties across Islay present an exciting opportunity to mobilise an entire island as an example for decarbonisation across the globe.”
Douglas Taylor, CEO of Bruichladdich, said: “Sustainability is in our DNA and is at the heart of everything we do. The funding for HyLaddie is a huge step towards our ambition of full decarbonisation and we can’t wait to bring the project to life with our partners at Protium and Jericho.
“Many distilleries across Scotland are making serious steps forward in decarbonising their energy requirements, and we fully believe that hydrogen has a future in the Scotch industry.
“Our hope is that our proof of concept can extend to commercialisation across the island, and beyond, helping us hit the Scotch Whisky Association’s targets of net zero by 2040.”
£2.65m in BEIS funding
In order to develop the project, £2.65m in funding has been secure from the Green Distilleries Competition, part of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.
It will allow Protium to install an on‐site DCC, a zero-emission hydrogen boiler patented by Jericho Energy Ventures’ wholly owned subsidiary Hydrogen Technologies.
Brian Williamson, CEO of Jericho, comments, “We are thrilled that the inaugural deployment of the DCC is with none-other than Remy Cointreau-owned Bruichladdich, one of the most prestigious and progressive distilleries, who shares our vision of forging a sustainable future. We look forward to working with Bruichladdich and the Protium teams to implement the ambitious decarbonisation project with our game-changing zero-emission technology.”