Plans For Scottish Whisky to Power Cars

A Scottish malt whisky distillery in Perthshire signed an agreement last month to convert its whisky waste into advanced biofuel, capable of powering cars.

The Tullibardine distillery has signed a MoU with Celtic Renewables,  a start-up company lead by professor Martin Tangney from Edinburgh’s Napier University. The professor and his team have developed a technology to produce biobutanol from the by-products  of whisky manufacture.

“Draff”, the spent grains used in the distilling process, and “pot ale”, a residue from the copper stills,  are waste products  both produced in the early stages of making whisky .  Distilleries are left with vast amounts of this.  It is planned that some of Scotland’s draff will be turned into electricity by burning it with woodchips in the Rothes Project: a project between Helius Energy and the Combination of Rothes Distillers (CoRD) that aims to generate enough electricity to supply 9,000 homes. Tullibardine is glad to be rid of some of its whisky-waste, it spends  £250,000 disposing of these by-products every year. Douglas Ross, managing director of Tullibardine says: “We are delighted to be partnering Celtic Renewables in this innovative venture, the obvious benefits of which are environmental”.

Mark Simmers, CEO of the company Celtric Renewables describes biobutanol as an “advanced” biofuel compared to bioethanol. Biobutanol (also called biogasoline) is often claimed to provide a direct replacement for gasoline without modification to the engine or the car. This will produce more energy, plus it is better ,less corrosive and less water soluble than ethanol. A big plus is that no corn or other crops are needed to produce the whisky-waste biobutanol.

The project is supported by a grant from the Scottish government’s Zero Waste Scotland initiative. Scotland is well on its way to realizing it’s potention in renewables: in 2011 already 35% of Scotland’s electricity came from renewables, like wind, wave and tidal power.

Via: and the Guardian.


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