Teesside, UK - Supercritical, a UK-based clean-tech startup, has achieved a significant milestone in the sustainable energy industry with the completion of its innovative green hydrogen demonstrator at their Teesside facility in North East England.
The advanced testing unit became the week’s epicentre of green innovation following a visit from Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, Lord Callanan.
The demonstrator is part of the WhiskHy project, a collaboration led by Supercritical with Beam Suntory, a global leader in premium spirits, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. Funded by the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio under the Green Distilleries Competition, the project innovates by combining traditional whisky production methods with zero emission technology.
This novel approach to water electrolysis, functioning at elevated pressures and temperatures, has set a new global benchmark in efficiency. The breakthrough is pivotal in reducing green hydrogen costs, fast-tracking its accessibility.
Supercritical's innovative approach, featuring a membraneless, iridium-free, and compressor-free solution, elegantly solves critical supply chain challenges and presents a scalable and efficient alternative to conventional methods.
Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance Lord Callanan said: “Innovation is central to delivering the new technologies we need to cut our carbon emissions and reach net zero. Backed by £2.9 million in government funding, this new milestone will forge the way to using hydrogen in whisky production, helping to decarbonise our industrial heartlands.”
With the partnership, Beam Suntory hopes to apply direct hydrogen flames to copper stills, respecting traditional distillation techniques while reducing its carbon footprint. The objective is to revolutionise the whisky industry, crafting products of the highest quality with net-zero emissions.
Alistair Leckenby, Environmental and Sustainability Manager, Beam Suntory, said: “At Beam Suntory, we are committed to supporting industry and government targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with our own ambitious goal to achieve net-zero emissions across our value chain by 2040. Innovative projects like WhiskHy are really moving the needle on how we can revive traditional distilling methods in a sustainable and responsible way, and we’re excited to see this new technology come to life.”
Matt Bird, CEO and co-founder of Supercritical, shared his vision: "As we unveil our green hydrogen demonstrator in Teesside, it's not just a showcase of technology, but a testament to our commitment at Supercritical to revolutionise sustainable energy. This cutting-edge facility represents our innovative approach to electrolysis, offering a glimpse into a future where green hydrogen is both economically and environmentally viable. We're not just engineering a product; we're crafting the future of energy, proving that sustainability and efficiency can go hand in hand."
The facility is a global novelty in high-pressure green hydrogen production at 220bara, and serves as a crucial testing ground for optimising Supercritical's innovative electrolyser technology. With continued support, the company is poised to deliver green hydrogen below £1/kg before 2030, marking a transformative era in the energy landscape.
The hub for chemical processing and hydrogen production, Teesside offers an ideal setting for this demonstrator. With a rich legacy in chemical innovation, Teesside continues to lead the UK in hydrogen advancements, with potential to boost economic development, jobs and growth in the region.
Supercritical is a leading global green-hydrogen innovator. Based in the UK the clean-tech startup company produces the highest pressure hydrogen in the world, delivering a cost-effective, carbon-free and supply chain safe solution. It does so by applying its exclusive and proprietary high-efficiency electrolyser technology.
The business was founded by Matt Bird, Mike Russ & Luke Tan, veterans of the hydrogen industry. The company is a spin off from Deep Science Ventures, a London based impact oriented venture builder, and has Lower Carbon Capital - Chris Sacca’s fund - among its investors.
The company has developed multiple partnerships to progress with industrial applications, with highlights to Beam Suntory, a leading global spirits company with ambitious goals to achieve net-zero distilling through the WhiskHy project.
About Beam Suntory
As a world leader in premium spirits, Beam Suntory inspires the brilliance of life by delivering great consumer experiences through its world-class portfolio of brands. Known for its craftsmanship of premium whiskies, including Jim Beam®, Maker’s Mark®, Basil Hayden® and Knob Creek® bourbons; Japanese whiskies, including Yamazaki®, Hakushu®, Hibiki® and Toki™; and leading Scotch brands including Teacher’s, Laphroaig® and Bowmore®, Beam Suntory also produces leading brands such as Courvoisier® cognac, Tres Generaciones®, El Tesoro® and Hornitos® tequila, Roku™ and Sipsmith® gin, Canadian Club® whisky, and is a world leader in ready-to-drink cocktails, with brands like -196 and On The Rocks™ Premium Cocktails.
A global company with approximately 6,000 employees in more than 30 countries, one of Beam Suntory’s core values is Growing for Good and through its Proof Positive sustainability strategy, the company has committed to ambitious goals and investments to promote environmental sustainability in its operations, ensure the company has a positive impact on the communities where employees live and work, and programs to educate and inform consumers to make the right personal choices about drinking. Headquartered in New York City, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan. For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit www.beamsuntory.com and www.drinksmart.com.
About the Manufacturing Technology Centre
Established in 2010, The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is an independent Research & Technology Organisation with the objective of bridging the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.
Home to some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world, the MTC works in partnership with industry, academia, and its members to prove innovative manufacturing processes and technologies. The MTC’s areas of expertise are applicable across a wide variety of industry sectors, including Aerospace, Defence and Security, Power and Energy, Built Environments, Space, Food and Drink and Healthcare.
In addition, MTC Training is creating the next generation of engineering talent while upskilling and reskilling existing workforces to support the industry and accelerate technological adoption.
For more information visit: https://www.the-mtc.org/
Luke Tan (Chief Product Officer, Supercritical)