Orkney Distillery aims to be the first gin producer powered by hydrogen and renewable energy

A new project, called HySpirits has been set up to investigate the feasibility of using hydrogen as fuel for the distilling process, removing the need for fossil fuels altogether and it’s being trialled at Orkney Distillery, home of Kirkjuvagr Scottish Gin.

After winning the Industrial Fuels Switching Competition, the project has been awarded £148,600 of funding from the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to conduct a feasibility study into the development of technology to enable The Orkney Distillery to use hydrogen as a fuel, thus decarbonising the distilling process. 

The HySpirits study is a collaboration between three different organisations: the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Orkney Distilling Ltd and Edinburgh Napier University, brought together by a common drive to decarbonise energy.

The project will develop a thermal fluid heater system to operate with hydrogen as the combustion fuel within the distilling process. This will remove the need to use fossil fuels such as kerosene and liquid petroleum gas, making a cleaner, more sustainable process.

The winners of the Industrial Fuel Switching competition were announced on Thursday 29 August by Lord Duncan, in advance of a ministerial visit to Orkney. 

Lord Duncan, Climate Change Minister, said:    

 “Using the power of hydrogen could help cut emissions, create jobs and make industrial processes cleaner and greener, benefitting the whole economy as we work towards net-zero by 2050.   

“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.” 

Stephen Kemp, Director of Orkney Distilling Ltd, 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.

At the Scottish Gin Society, we are very excited about this project and what it could mean for the future of the distilling process. We’re delighted that Orkney Distilling is right at the forefront of this world-first innovative trial.

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