An Edinburgh firm has been created to commercialize the process for producing biofuels from Scotland's $6 billion malt whisky industry. The biofuel could be turned into biobutanol, which could be a substitute for fossil fuels and other biological by-products
Being able to harness the already existing by-products from whisky production is no small matter. Each year the whisky industry produces 1,600 million liters of pot ale (the residue left in the copper stills) and the 500,000 tons of draff (the spent grains) alone as by-products of distilling — and these elements just happen to be key in the creation of the biofuel.
That's a lot of whisky and lots of potential biofuel.
Research suggests that biobutanol could provide 25% more power output than traditional bioethanol. There's another benefit — butanol can run in unmodified engines with gas and can be blended with diesel and biodiesel; something ethanol can't do.
Edinburgh Napier University's Celtic Renewables Ltd. is now working with Scottish Enterprise to kick off the project at the industrial level. The start-up has received an initial grant from the government agency for over $415,000 and it receiving a separate grant of upwards of $109,000 for assistance in scale up and mapping out commercial feasibility.
Looking for local solutions to fossil fuel dependency is considered not only an innovative use of existing materials, but it is also good for the community.
Prof Martin Tangney, founder of Celtic Renewables and director of Napier University's Biofuel Research Centre, told the BBC: "…[biofuel] would reduce oil consumption and CO2 emissions while also providing energy security — particularly in the rural and remote homelands of the whisky industry."
Pardon the pun, but what a great way to use untapped resources!