EARLIER THIS year, the Arbikie Highland Estate Distillery won Phase 1 funding from the Green Distilleries competition run by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to investigate switching from gas oil to hydrogen for their primary process fuel.

It has now announced that, after a successful Phase 1 feasibility study, it is now applying for Phase 2 funding – and a share of a £10 million funding pot – to implement zero-carbon green hydrogen as its primary process fuel.

The Green Distilleries fund aims to help distilleries cut CO2 emissions by one million tonnes, contributing to Scotland’s national target to be carbon neutral by 2045, with each distillery deploying innovative green solutions in order to achieve these ambitious goals.

Renewable energy specialist Locogen and hydrogen technology expert Logan Energy are partnering with Arbikie to deliver an innovative solution, using green hydrogen produced onsite using electrolysis from wind and solar generation as the zero-carbon fuel for the distillation process.

Currently Arbikie operates a sustainable, field-to-bottle model, with all ingredients grown, distilled, matured and bottled onsite. Even the mountain-filtered water used in Arbikie spirits is taken from an underground lagoon.

The hydrogen project will enhance these credentials, helping to create a low-carbon distillery that has been converted from fossil fuel dependence. It is hoped that this will become a model that can be rolled out across the distillation sector and other industries.

CEO of Locogen, Andy Lyle, said: “It’s great to see one of Scotland’s most traditional industries adopting innovative new technologies to help us reach our net-zero targets. Now there’s another reason to raise a glass on World Whisky Day."

CEO of Logan Energy, Bill Ireland, said: "Scotland’s whisky sector is world-renowned, and it is fitting that we are finding innovative ways to decarbonise this industry as we continue to trailblaze hydrogen technologies with a global impact. I look forward to sampling the new generation of hydrogen-powered whisky.”

Director at Arbikie Distillery, Iain Stirling, said: “Arbikie is focused on becoming one of the world’s most sustainable distilleries, and as both farmers and distillers we are in an ideal position to grow and distil our field-to-bottle whiskies. Sustainable products are undoubtedly the future, especially in this year of the UN’s COP26 and they will be the major economic driving force in the years to come across the world. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful environment on Scotland’s east coast from which we can grow and distil the highest quality of barley and rye, and we’re proud to play a part at the vanguard of what is becoming a global sustainable spirits movement."