If your wife ever yells at you for drinking whiskey, tell her that you are actually actively participating in making the world a better place.
Because a Scottish startup called Celtic Renewables has figured out a way to take the waste from whiskey production and turn it into millions of gallons of renewable fuel. You’re not just drinking – you’re saving the earth, damnit.
Apparently, when a distillery is making delicious whiskey, only about 10 percent of their product will end up being what you drink. The other 90 percent is just residue of barley and pot ale. We never really considered how much goes to waste and how much disposal of that waste costs the distilleries. Tullibardine, a Scottish distillery, spends about $375,000 a year just to get rid of hundreds of thousands of gallons of pot ale and other material.
Napier University’s Biofuel Research Centre has proven that the right bacteria can feed on those byproducts and ultimately produce butanol, which is a direct replacement for vehicle fuel.
That’s why Tullibardine and Celtic Renewables have teamed up – they’re going to see what happens when this is done on a large scale and whether or not it could work for other distilleries in the long run. Martin Tangney, Celtic Renables founder and president, believes that if he can turn a high percentage of that waste into biobutanol, he could create a $90 million biofuels industry.
Whaaat? Imagine if whiskey saved the economy. Imagine it.
People believe in this concept so much that Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, both government-funded agencies, gave Celtic Renewables over $600,000 in grant money to get this thing going. The company has also raised about $1.13 million from public grants and private investment.
We think this is awesome and can’t wait to not just fuel our bodies with whiskey, but our gas tanks as well.