Beam Suntory and Supercritical Solutions Break Ground with World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Whisky Distilling Trial

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Beam Suntory and Supercritical Solutions have achieved a remarkable feat in the realm of whisky distillation. 

The announcement of the successful completion of the ‘world first’ hydrogen-powered whisky distilling trial marks a pivotal moment not only for the spirits industry but also for sustainable fuel innovation.

The trial, conducted in partnership with Supercritical Solutions, took place at Yamazaki distillery‘s pilot facility in Japan, where researchers utilised 100% hydrogen to directly heat a whisky still. 

This milestone achievement is a significant step forward for the UK Government funded WhiskHy project, aimed at showcasing hydrogen as a viable fuel source for direct-fired distillation.

Direct-firing, a traditional method of distilling utilising a direct flame rather than indirect heating by steam coils, lies at the heart of the WhiskHy project. By employing green hydrogen, produced using Supercritical’s advanced ultra-efficient, high-pressure electrolyzer technology, the process has the potential to slash carbon emissions by up to 100%, rendering it net-zero. 

This not only reduces the environmental footprint of whisky production but also sets a new standard for sustainability in the industry.

Part of the distilled spirit from the trial will journey to Glen Garioch distillery in Scotland to be casked, where it will undergo assessment for quality as it matures. This represents not just a technical achievement but also a testament to the commitment to sustainability within the spirits industry. 

Furthermore, it also highlights the potential for international collaboration in achieving carbon-neutral production methods.

Supercritical’s CEO hailed the WhiskHy project as a showcase of engineering prowess and dedication to net-zero innovation. They emphasised the significance of the trial in advancing hydrogen fuel technology and fostering ongoing collaboration. 

Moreover, their partnership with Beam Suntory aims to democratise green hydrogen, making it more accessible for a sustainable future. The CEO also noted the potential for on-site hydrogen production at distilleries, powered by local renewable energy sources, as a key factor in driving down emissions.

Echoing this sentiment, the head of distilling and environment at Beam Suntory expressed the company’s ambition to achieve net-zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2040. They emphasised the importance of collaborative projects, like WhiskHy, in driving progress towards this goal. 

Furthermore, they highlighted the role of innovation and partnership in realising a sustainable future for the industry, demonstrating Beam Suntory’s commitment to leading the way in environmental stewardship.

In conclusion, the successful completion of the hydrogen-powered whisky distilling trial represents a significant stride towards a more sustainable future for the spirits industry. 

Through innovative partnerships, pioneering technology, and a commitment to environmental responsibility, Beam Suntory and Supercritical Solutions are leading the charge towards a greener, more resilient tomorrow.

News Credits: ‘World-first’ hydrogen whisky distilling trial completed at Beam Suntory

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