As the only Scotch distillery to be B Corp certified, Bruichladdich is validated as a business that balances profit and purpose. Building on their achievements thus far, they aim to decarbonize their production process by 2025. Feasibility studies into alternative green energy solutions have therefore been underway for some time. Exploring the potential of those sources will continue amidst this new testing, with the opportunity to be industry-leaders in hydrogen readily embraced.
Hydrogen presents a significant opportunity for the whisky industry and Islay itself, which currently uses fuel oil to meet its heating demand. Due to the remote location of many distilleries across Scotland, its implementation is a critical step forward in enabling producers to work towards net zero and in ensuring their operations can benefit from on‐site power sources that are otherwise hindered by pre‐existing grid limitations.
The feasibility project, named HyLaddie, has been funded by the Small Business Research Initiative Green Distilleries Competition and will explore the deployment of an on‐site Deuterium Dynamic Combustion Chamber (DCC™) as a viable mechanism to meet Bruichladdich’s heating requirements.
Together with ITPEnergised and Deuterium, Protium will investigate optimal system design and how the DCC™ can be integrated into the Victorian distillery. As with any project undertaken at Bruichladdich, the feasibility study must consider the preservation of centuries old equipment, the safeguarding of spirit quality and the impact on the local community.
Intended for completion in the spring of 2021, the study is included within phase one of the NZIP Green Distilleries competition. Positive results would see project teams target phase two of funding in order to install the DCC and assess its industrial application. This proof of concept could be the vote of confidence required for similar-sized distilleries to join Bruichladdich’s ambitions of net zero. Certainly, it would demonstrate feasibility for those retrofitting operations to become more sustainable as opposed to being ‘born-green’.
This project marks the inaugural deployment of DCC in the UK. This revolutionary technology generates high temperature steam, using only oxygen and hydrogen that is combusted in a vacuum. The process creates water, which can be recycled and crucially, eliminates any emission of CO2, NOx and SOx.
The project follows a series of significant funding announcements from the UK Government, whose economic plans continue to support hydrogen projects. Alongside a dedicated hydrogen strategy expected in 2021, £100 billion of funds have been earmarked for spending across the UK with some likely to be awarded to green hydrogen and other clean tech projects.
Additionally, in March 2020 the Government announced a £10 million fund as a scheme established to help distillery businesses convert to more sustainable energy sources, which seeks to “kick‐start green innovation” and supports UK distilleries in switching to greener energy sources such as low-carbon hydrogen, biomass and repurposed waste.
Christopher Jackson, CEO of Protium and Director of Deuterium, said, “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to demonstrate how green hydrogen can deliver a zero emission heat solution for Bruichladdich. Green hydrogen will play a key role in decarbonizing the UK manufacturing sector, particularly food & drink where Protium is well established in designing green hydrogen for industrial heat solutions. Together with ITPEnergised and Deuterium, we are eager to demonstrate how hydrogen can be used by Bruichladdich to reduce their footprint and emissions, and look forward to helping them spearhead innovation in a sector that is so rich in tradition and history.”
Allan Logan, Operations and Production Director of Bruichladdich, comments, “At Bruichladdich Distillery, we understand that there is real potential for a hydrogen‐based solution to decarbonize our industry. We are thrilled to have the support of Protium, Deuterium and ITPEnergised to help us assess the feasibility of employing a hydrogen fuel switching solution for our distillery – a move we hope benefits the broader industry.”
Jonny Clark, Managing Director of ITPEnergised, said, ‘’We’re excited to be working with Protium, Deuterium and Bruichladdich Distillery on this ground‐breaking project, supporting Bruichladdich and the wider whisky sector in achieving their net zero ambitions.’’