Hydro-gin: Decarbonising the distilling process with hydrogen

Hydro-gin: Decarbonising the distilling process with hydrogen

Blending tradition with innovation, a project hoping to decarbonise the gin distilling process with green hydrogen has been awarded nearly £150,000 of funding from the UK Government.

Hydrogen has been identified as an alternative fuel for energy intensive industrial processes, such as distilleries.

The HySpirits project in Orkney, Scotland brings together three different organisations with a common drive to decarbonise energy.

Led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the other partners are Orkney Distilling, the site selected for hydrogen fuel integration, and Edinburgh Napier University who will assess the distillery site and develop the hydrogen system design and specification.

If the technology and business case detailed in the feasibility study proves viable, this offers a substantial decarbonisation opportunity for the wider industry and The Orkney Distillery could become the world’s first hydrogen fuelled distillery.

© Orkney Distilling

Additionally, it is hoped that the findings of this study can be replicated across the sector with the added benefit that the technology will be designed to be retrofitted into existing infrastructure.

Stephen Kemp, Director of Orkney Distilling, said, “As we look to the future development of The Orkney Distillery and our product offering, it is essential that we innovate in order to drive a low carbon, energy efficient spirit production process.”

“This collaboration with EMEC and Edinburgh Napier University is incredibly exciting, and a world first for the industry.”

Jon Clipsham, Hydrogen Manager at EMEC, added, “Working with a world class craft distillery, the HySpirits project blends tradition with innovation.

“Decarbonising the distilling process with green hydrogen derived from local renewables is a great example of the creative ways Orkney is addressing the challenges of the energy transition.”

Professor John Currie, Director of the Scottish Energy Centre at Edinburgh Napier University, commented, “Industrial fuel switching, in order to lower carbon emissions, provides a significant challenge, particularly in the food and drink sector.”

“This project has brought together a partnership which has enabled the development and exploitation of a readily-deployable hydrogen technology which can make a significant impact across the process industries in order to help achieve our global objectives.”


Funding for the project was awarded after successfully competing in the Industrial Fuels Switching Competition run by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) earlier this year, which aims to stimulate early investment in fuel switching processes and technologies.

£390m UK Government push for hydrogen and low carbon tech

Now in its second phase, the competition offers funding for feasibility studies looking into developing technologies to enable the use of a low-carbon fuel across industrial processes.

The winners of the Industrial Fuel Switching competition were announced today by Climate Change Minister Lord Duncan, in advance of a ministerial visit to Orkney.

Lord Duncan said, “This innovative project from HySprits/EMEC will help our efforts to roll out hydrogen at scale by the 2030s – a crucial step towards the end of the UK’s contribution to global warming.”


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