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How hydrogen can decarbonise Scotland’s distilleries

03 Nov 2023


How hydrogen can decarbonise Scotland’s distilleries 

In a world where environmental sustainability is of paramount importance, the Scottish whisky industry is setting ambitious goals. By 2040, it aims to achieve net zero emissions in its operations, spearheading the movement towards green distilleries.  

Ricardo recently attended Green Distilleries – How Hydrogen can decarbonise Scotland’s Distilleries, which offered insights into the potential of hydrogen as a decarbonisation solution for Scotland's distilleries. The highlight of the day was the "Distillery Case Studies" panel session Chaired by Ricardo’s Scott Robertson. The session featured presentations from distilleries and their project partners on the Arbikie Distillery, WhiskHy and HyLaddie projects.  These presentations showcased the pioneering work being done in the world of hydrogen projects for distilleries. 

One notable contribution was Richard Hodges' presentation on Ricardo's report, "Hydrogen for Scottish Distilleries." The report dives deep into the feasibility of incorporating hydrogen as an alternative fuel in whisky production and serves as a valuable resource for those committed to decarbonisation efforts in the industry. 

The key takeaways from the event included the following: 

  • Hydrogen as an alternative fuel: Hydrogen emerges as a promising alternative to producing heat and steam for whisky production, reducing carbon emissions in the process 
  • Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS): distilleries may actively be considering projects that remove CO2 from the fermentation process through CCUS technologies. This approach helps further reduce the industry's carbon footprint 

  • Diverse decarbonisation solutions: There is no one-size-fits-all solution for distilleries. The event highlighted the importance of exploring various decarbonisation approaches, reflecting the unique needs and circumstances of each distillery 

  • Collaboration is key: Successful decarbonisation benefits from collaboration on multiple fronts. Distilleries can benefit from engaging with hydrogen and CCUS partners who can provide crucial insights into policy, regulation, technical aspects, and economics. Additionally, seeking synergies within a distillery's wider area can be lead to a comprehensive green transformation 

  • A Can-Do attitude: The event celebrated the can-do spirit of the industry, with a strong emphasis on technology development through hydrogen pilot projects. These projects demonstrate the commitment of distilleries to embracing sustainable practices. 

As the world races towards a greener future, the Scottish whisky industry is making strides in their net zero journey, with organisations including Ricardo playing an important role in enabling these distilleries to achieve their net zero emissions targets. There are still many challenges ahead to decarbonise the sector across all emissions scopes and Ricardo is supporting initiatives to address these challenges. By exploring innovative solutions like hydrogen and fostering collaboration, the industry is well on its way to reducing its environmental impact and securing a sustainable future for generations to come.

Ricardo is committed to being a long-term environmental consultancy partner for the sector, we continue to be a beacon of hope for industries worldwide, as they navigate the path towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.

To get in touch with one of our decarbonisation team of experts email: or use the contact form below