Latest Update On Our First-Round Challenges

The application window opened in November 2020, and we received around 300 applications across our first four challenges within the few weeks that the application window was open. We were thrilled with both the number and the quality of applications  that we received, and this gave us the exciting but challenging job of narrowing down the short list  of 22 applications to those with the most relevant technologies.

EXXERGY Lightweighting Trials

Pilot started: Nov ‘21

In November 2021, we began working with EXXERGY, Ardagh Group and Dassault Systèmes, collaborating on a DSS pilot to develop a new coating which could enable the use of thinner glass for our bottles – without reducing strength. Through industry-first trials, both lab-based and virtual, we’ve been trialling this new coating technology to ‘lightweight’ our bottles. Virtual trials allow us to model, visualise and develop innovations using real-time digital representations of products and processes – reducing time, cost, energy and raw materials. Once we’ve successfully completed the virtual and lab trial, we will then test the thinner glass on our iconic Johnnie Walker bottles. Through this exciting collaboration, we hope to significantly reduce the raw materials needed to create a bottle, and to reduce the overall weight so less carbon is used to transport our bottles.

The next steps will be to complete the laboratory testing this year, and agree next steps for further testing and commercialisation.

Somax BioEnergy Feasibility Trial

In 2021, Diageo selected SoMax BioEnergy ( to pilot their technology that converts distillers’ spent grains into Hydrochar. The pilot started in November 2021 and so far the Somax team have  have produced impressive results exceeding initial expectations by producing a hydrochar with even higher energy value  than expected.

SoMax’s “Resource Recovery Platform”, with hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) as its cornerstone technology converts process waste or byproducts (such as distillers’ spent grains) breaking them down into their base molecular components and building them back into valuable circular materials, such as biofuels, fertilizers and clean water.

By transforming spent grains and transforming them into Hydrochar and nitrogen-rich fertilizer, CO2 is reduced, which potentially could have a positive impact on Diageo’s carbon footprint and GHG emissions.

We are still completing the pilot phase but are very hopeful that SoMax's technology will have the potential to transform distillery and brewery co-products into Hydrochar and other bioproducts, and in doing so will help us reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

Empak Glass

Pilot Started September ‘21

We are working closely with the Empak Glass team to pilot breakthrough software modelling to help inform the light-weighting of our existing glass bottles. We are exploring a number of key areas where we may be able to take weight out of our bottles, such as in the shoulder and base areas of our bottles. The Technology uses Finite Element Analysis to look at the stresses within the glass therefore helps inform where we might be able to reduce weight, even where our bottles are already best in class from a weight by volume perspective. We are focussing this initial assessment on the Baileys bottle initially, with recommendations for reducing weight without changing any of the key dimensions and a more radical view of what is possible with some of the key dimensions and features modified slightly.

The next steps will be to conclude on the most interesting opportunities and decide whether to progress to the glass sampling stage.

Aquacycl Pilot

Diageo and Aquacycl are partnering to provide performance testing of Aquacycl’s technology to treat wastewater from three locations in North America. These tests will highlight expected removal rates, power generation and treatment efficiency which will help inform the potential applications across our supply chain operations. We hope to demonstrate that  at a single site could mitigate 600 to 800 tons CO2 equivalent per year, while maintaining permit compliance and reducing incoming freshwater demand.

Aquacycl’s systems use naturally existing bacteria that simultaneously break down organic matter in the wastewater and release electrons, which are captured as direct current and used to offset the power consumption of the system. This enables treatment rates in hours instead of the days or weeks required by other processes. The generated electrical current also enables remote, real-time monitoring of system performance and offsite troubleshooting capabilities.

The next steps will be to conclude the testing and identify the key potential scale up opportunities within the Diageo Supply Chain.

We are also planning to start two other pilots as part of Cohort 1 very soon, and will announce the details of these additional pilots here shortly
Society 2030: Spirit of Progress

Society 2030: Spirit of Progress

Diageo's 10 year action plan to help create an inclusive and sustainable world, underpinning our growth as a business whilst creating a positive impact in our company, with our communities and for society.