UK Government pours £9m into low carbon distilleries in Scotland

The funding will enable Scotch whisky producers from Orkney to Islay to cut carbon emissions by half a million tonnes every year – equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of Stirling

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The UK Government has announced nearly £9 million in funding to help whisky distilleries in Scotland get into the spirit of going green.

The funding will enable Scotch whisky producers from Orkney to Islay to cut carbon emissions by half a million tonnes every year – equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of Stirling.

A total of 12 distilleries across Scotland can bid for grants of up to £3 million to accelerate their projects that decarbonise production processes – which typically rely on fossil fuels – and commercialise their innovations.

The production of whisky directly produced around 530,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2018 in the UK, with the majority of these emissions coming from the generation of heat for the distillation process.

This accounts for more than 80% of the distillation industry’s fuel consumption, almost all of which is currently from fossil fuels.

In the first phase of funding, Scottish distilleries received up to £75,000, helping them boost decarbonisation research and development, with schemes including the use of hydrogen and biofuel boilers and geothermal energy in their production processes.

Projects that have already received support include the Uist Distilling Company, which is using low carbon hydrogen as a heat source, Bruichladdich Distillery developing a boiler system that emits no greenhouse gases or pollutants on the Isle of Islay and Orkney’s Highland Park Distillery using stored energy from renewable sources that can be converted into heat on demand.

Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Scotland’s whisky distilleries are famous around the world for their innovation and it is great to see them use this to get into the spirit of going green.

“The funding announced today will support one of our most iconic industries to go further and faster in cutting their carbon emissions and build back greener – something we can all raise a toast to.”

The Scotch whisky industry supports 40,000 jobs across the UK, with more than 10,000 people directly employed in Scotland.

The latest funding will drive forward support for low carbon innovation in some geographically remote parts of the UK, creating more jobs and skills and providing opportunities for distilleries to develop their fuel transportation and storage technologies.