Applications open for £10m government funding pot to help distilleries switch to low-carbon fuels such as hydrogen, biomass and repurposed waste
Whisky is already associated with some of the UK's wildest and greenest places, with iconic lines such as Glenfiddich and Bushmills made in distilleries dotted across the Scottish and Northern Irish countrysides.
Now a government scheme aims to help the industry go green in practice, too, with distilleries from today able to apply to a £10m government fund to help them cut emissions by switching to low-carbon fuels such as hydrogen, biomass and repurposed waste.
First announced in the March budget, the Green Distilleries Competition aims to help distilleries cut emissions by almost one million tonnes of CO2 a year in total, the equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road, according to the government.
"Our plan to deliver a carbon-neutral future doesn't just mean new jobs in new industries but helping some of our oldest industries to play their part as well," said Energy and Clean Growth Minister Kwasi Kwarteng this morning, as the fund opened for applications. "We want to harness the tremendous innovation of our distilleries so customers can enjoy their favourite tipple in the knowledge they are helping us to tackle climate change."
The UK distillery industry, which is largely concentrated in Scotland and Northern Ireland, grew 20 per cent in 2019, fuelled by booming demand from East Asia.
Dagmar Droogsma, director of industry at the Scotch Whisky Association, welcomed the funding competition.
"This Fund will provide us with the opportunity to put forward bids for demonstration projects for so-far untested technologies, helping the Scotch Whisky industry play its part in reaching Scotland's emissions targets," she said.
The funding forms part of the government's £505m BEIS Energy Innovation Portfolio, which aims to foster the commercialisation of innovative, cheap, clean and reliable energy technologies to drive the net zero transition.
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The innovation is now in place on UK cans of Foster's, Kronenbourg and Heineken, with the rest of Heineken's portfolio set to follow in 2021