Every few years, someone comes up with a new idea of how to reduce dependence on traditional gasoline for cars. In Scotland, it makes sense that whisky would be the source of inspiration. Celtic Renewables in Edinburgh has developed a method that turns the byproducts of Scotch whisky production into biofuel. The best part? You don’t have to give up or change anything about your current vehicle–the fuel can go straight into your existing tank.
Only 7% of the product that leaves Scotch distilleries is whisky, the rest is made up of spent barley (draff) and a liquid residue called pot ale. These sugar-rich byproducts are mixed and then fed to a special kind of bacteria called clostridium that turn the draff and pot ale into fuel. Professor Martin Tangney, founder of Celtic Renewables, says that this biobutanol is different than other biofuels since it can be put directly into an unmodified tank. While the process has been a success in the laboratory, it will soon be tested on an industrial scale in Belgium. Since all countries in Europe are under a mandate that 10% of all fuels sold in the region must be biofuels by 2020, Celtic Renewables’ whisky fuel is timely for the area.
The whisky biofuel is a great way to turn byproducts into something sustainable. Plus, it would be pretty cool to say your car ran on whisky without actually wasting the stuff you want to drink!