Whiskey Charts Course From Drink To Biofuel

Biobutanal enjoys a distinct advantage over other forms of biofuels in that it can be used as a direct replacement for gasoline, or as a blend, with no need for engine modification.

“The Scottish malt whisky industry is a ripe resource for developing bio-butanol,” said Professor Martin Tangney, Founder of Celtic Renewables and Director of the Biofuel Research Centre at Napier University, in a statement. He goes on to note that whisky-industry by-products could reduce Scotland’s oil consumption and carbon emissions while also helping to provide the country with energy security, particularly in the rural and remote homelands of the whisky industry.

image via Scotch Whisky Association

In keeping with the huge potential of this process, in Scotland and beyond, Celtic Renewables has secured Dr. Doug Ward, founder of Scotland’s largest biofuel producer, Argent Energy, as its chairman, who in turn has secured “significant” private investment from Adelphi Distillery co-owner Donald Houston.

The initial research project pioneering Celtic Renewables’ biofuels process was backed by Scottish Enterprise’s Proof of Concept Programme, while the company has since benefited from a Scottish Enterprise SMART: Scotland grant to the tune of £70,000 ($111,000 USD) to assist in scaling up this technology and making it commercially feasible.

Scotland’s Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy, Enterprise & Tourism said, in a statement, “Scotland’s whisky has a worldwide reputation for excellence and generates huge benefits for our economy. It’s fitting, then, that the by-products of this industry are now being used in an area where we have so much promise – sustainable biofuels.”

He goes on to note that turning whisky industry by-products into raw materials for sustainable biofuels that can be used to power ordinary family cars is an example of the sort of the “innovative thinking” that Scotland excels in. It should also be said this isn’t the only whisky to biofuels project going on either.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.