Bruichladdich Distillery has announced a significant step towards its ambition to decarbonise its distillation process by 2025, with major funding secured to pioneer industry-first technology.
The funding of £2.65 million comes from the Green Distilleries Competition, funded through the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, and follows an initial feasibility study completed in the spring of 2021. It will allow Bruichladdich and its partner, green hydrogen energy services company Protium, to install an on‐site Dynamic Combustion Chamber (DCC), a zero-emission hydrogen boiler patented by deep-tech venture capital firm Jericho Energy Ventures.
The innovative hydrogen combustion technology will heat the stills used to create Bruichladdich’s Scotch whisky, as well as its The Botanist gin, demonstrating the feasibility of switching from fuel oil to sustainable hydrogen energy technology. The hydrogen boiler operates with zero greenhouse gas emissions, and represents a key step towards the distillery decarbonising in the long term.
Bruichladdich"s still house
This project marks the inaugural deployment of DCC in the UK. The technology is the only zero-emission, closed-loop boiler that generates high-temperature steam, using oxygen and hydrogen reacting in a vacuum and eliminating any of the usual emissions. The only by-product of the process is (recyclable) water.
Dubbed ‘HyLaddie’, this project must navigate the installation of state-of-the-art technology within a fully operational, Victorian distillery on an island (Islay off the west coast of Scotland). Hyladdie also aims to lay the groundwork for similar-sized spirits producers across the world to up their own decarbonisation initiatives.
Douglas Taylor, CEO of Bruichladdich Distillery, commented, “Sustainability is in our DNA… Many distilleries across Scotland are making serious steps forward in decarbonising their energy requirements, and we fully believe that hydrogen has a future in the Scotch industry. Our hope is that our proof of concept can extend to commercialisation across the island, and beyond, helping us hit the Scotch Whisky Association's targets of net zero by 2040.”
Chris Jackson, CEO of Protium, remarked, “We’re thrilled to work together with Bruichladdich, one of our first Scottish clients, to help decarbonise their distilling process and introduce hydrogen energy technology to the Isle of Islay. Not only can Bruichladdich and The Botanist implement this technology to act as a beacon for sustainability in the spirits industry, but their deep community ties across Islay presents an exciting opportunity to mobilise an entire island as an example for decarbonisation across the globe.”
Commenting on the project, Brian Williamson, CEO of Jericho Energy Ventures, said, “We are thrilled that the inaugural deployment of the DCC is with none other than Bruichladdich, one of the most prestigious and progressive distilleries, who shares our vision of forging a sustainable future. We look forward to working with Bruichladdich and the Protium teams to implement the ambitious decarbonization project with our game-changing zero-emission technology.”
The HyLaddie project team
As a certified 'B Corp', and the first distillery to be certified thus in the UK, Bruichladdich invests in its local community and environment, and hopes the HyLaddie project will demonstrate the capability of hydrogen to encourage commercialisation across Islay. Beyond the distillery, the heating technology has the potential to be integrated into residential spaces, local government buildings, schools, hospitals, and more.
This news comes after Bruichladdich’s parent company, Rémy Cointreau group, officially committed to the Science Based Targets’ ‘Business Ambition for 1.5°C’ initiative, aiming for carbon neutrality through contributions to large-scale climate action.