Four projects will receive a share of more than £11 million 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 every year – equivalent to emissions from powering more than 60,000 homes or taking around 100,000 cars off of the road. Supported through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, the winners are being announced today in the wake of the UK hosting the COP26 UN Climate Change summit in Glasgow earlier this month.
The new investment is a demonstration of UK government’s continued commitment to develop new green technologies and innovations, playing a vital role in helping eliminate the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.
And with the Scotch whisky industry supporting 40,000 jobs across the UK, including more than 10,000 people directly employed in Scotland, today’s funding will also create more high skilled jobs and provide opportunities for distilleries to develop their fuel transportation and storage technologies.
The announcement also comes in addition to the ambitious green targets announced in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan and the Energy White Paper.
Energy Minister Greg Hands said, "From London to Livingston, the UK is home to some of the world’s best-loved drinks and the Green Distilleries Competition is supporting producers in this iconic industry to go further and faster in cutting carbon emissions as we build back greener.".
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said, "It’s fitting that this announcement comes just before St. Andrew’s Day when Scotland’s most famous product will be celebrated around the globe. Scotland’s whisky industry has a proud heritage and is taking massive steps to embrace innovative technologies that will make production greener and cleaner. UK government investment like this will help secure the future of the sector and the highly-skilled jobs it supports."
Scotch Whisky Association Chief Executive Karen Betts 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."
In the first phase of Green Distilleries Competition funding, 17 projects across the UK received up to £75,000 each to help boost research and development for decarbonisation projects. Phase 2 will enable four of those original 17 to progress schemes that include the use of low-carbon hydrogen and biogas instead of fossil fuels in their production processes.
Projects that have received phase 2 funding include: