Distillery to install DCC hydrogen boiler to produce green spirits

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A Scottish distillery is set to install hydrogen combustion technology as it moves away from fuel oil to heat its stills.

Bruichladdich Distillery

Bruichladdich Distillery and its partners have received £2.65m from the Green Distilleries Competition, funded through the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, and follows an initial feasibility study completed in the spring of 2021.

“The key take away was a review of the number of various options to decarbonise the distillery and achieved zero emissions,” said Chris Jackson, CEO of energy partner Protium. “These demonstrated that hydrogen was the optimal solution for this case and could deliver long term cost benefits versus business as usual.”

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Bruichladdich Distillery aims to decarbonise its distillation process by 2025. Key to this target is the installation of an on‐site Dynamic Combustion Chamber (DCC), a hydrogen boiler patented by Jericho Energy Ventures’ subsidiary Hydrogen Technologies LLC and licenced to Protium’s subsidiary, Deuterium.

Dubbed HyLaddie, the project must navigate the installation of the technology within a Victorian distillery on the island of Islay. As a certified B Corp, Bruichladdich hopes the project will demonstrate the capability of hydrogen to encourage commercialisation across Islay.

This project will deploy a DCC3000, which can produce enough process steam to drive a steam turbine with up to 3MWe capacity.

The technology, the first of its kind in the UK, is the only zero-emission, closed loop boiler that generates high temperature steam, using oxygen and hydrogen that is reacted in a vacuum. Hydrogen is produced via an electrolyser which is supplied by Bruichladdich’s renewable grid connection.

The DCC does not require a smokestack or any other energy dissipating exhaust, eliminating any emissions of CO2, NOx and SOx. The only by-product of the reaction is water that can be recycled.

Jackson explained that the DCC provides steam to the stills where the fermented product is stored.

“The steam heats the stills which causes the alcohol to vaporise,” he said. “The vapour is then cooled which causes the alcohol vapour to condense and results in the distilled spirit.”

Jackson added that the DCC and existing boiler will not run in parallel and that distillation as part the HyLaddie project will solely use steam from the DCC.

“In Phase 2 we plan to demonstrate the DCC technology and identify, reduce, and mitigate the risks associated with scale-up to commercial deployment,” he said. “We will provide a configuration to install the DCC, electrolyser, compression and storage by providing a technically feasible, commercially robust solution. We also plan to further assess the commercial viability of full-scale deployment with corresponding renewable assets.”