World’s first hydrogen-powered gin distillery nets UK government funding

By Lucy Ingham

The UK government is investing in a project to convert an existing craft gin distillery so that is powered by hydrogen, as part of a slew of funding in low-carbon technology projects.

The project, which is based in Orkney, Scotland, will explore the feasibility of making the switch from liquid petroleum gas to hydrogen in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the distillery, netting £148,609 from the government for the purpose.

If it is successful it would cut its CO2 emissions by 86 tonnes per year, and become the first hydrogen-powered gin distillery in the world.

Hydrogen-powered gin distillery: A green trailblazer for the drinks industry?

Dubbed HySpirits, the project would see the gin distillery work with the nearby European Marine Energy Centre plant, which uses wind and tidal technologies to produce hydrogen.

This hydrogen would be used to produce heat for the distillery, which is vital to the gin distillation process.

It is hoped that if the project is successful it will encourage other producers in the UK’s craft brewing industry to follow suit.

The UK boasts 361 gin distilleries and 2,274 breweries, making the potential environmental benefits of switching to greener power sources significant.

UK puts millions into green power projects

The investment is part of a host of green investments announced today to further the UK’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

Totalling £390m in UK government funding, the project includes a £250m Clean Steel Fund to reduce CO2 emissions in the iron and steel industy.

The HySpirits project is being funded under the £20m Industrial Fuel Switching competition, while other projects are being funded under the £20m Hydrogen Supply programme.

“It’s great to know we can all enjoy an environmentally friendly tipple while helping our planet as we press towards a net zero emissions economy by 2050,” said Climate Change Minister Lord Duncan of the announcement.

“Developing hydrogen technology has the potential to not only reduce emissions from industry, but could also help us seize the opportunities of the global shift to cleaner economies – with the prize of up 2 million jobs and £170bn of annual exports by 2030.”

Read more: Watch: Hyundai Nexo, the hydrogen fuel cell car that cleans the air as it drives