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Whisky biofuel to power cars

By Amber Rolt on 5/08/14 10:00 AM

A Scottish biofuel company, Celtic Renewables, reckons it is close to producing a fuel made from the bi-products of whisky production which could fuel cars.

They teamed up with the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, Europe’s largest biotechnology pilot facility in Belgium at the beginning of the year to discuss the scaling of production of whisky made bio fuel.

UK Government funding is backing the project to turn Scotland’s biggest export into fuel under energy minister Michael Fallon. The fuel, called Biobutanol, is made from a combination of the sugar rich kernals of barley (draff) and pot ale, a yeasty liquid which is heated during distillation and has the power to replace petrol and diesel.

And there is plenty of pot ale lying around. Every year the Scotch whisky trade produces 1.6 billion litres of the stuff, along with 500,000 tons of draff, making it a stable resource for bio fuel production.

The plan is to make the world’s first industrial samples of vehicle fuel made from whisky production residues later this year. If all goes to plan, then the project could see the Scotch whisky industry help kickstart a new industry in fuel production, which will only increase as more whisky is made. Unlike fossil fuels, this is not a resource that is going to go dry any time soon.