Drink AND Drive – Scots claim new fuel source

A DEAL has been signed to turn by-products from a Scottish distillery into fuel for cars.

The Tullibardine distillery in Perthshire has linked up with Celtic Renewables a spin-out company from Napier University in Edinburgh to produce bio-fuel from the leftovers from the whisky manufacturing process.


Napier University’s Biofuel Research Centre (BfRC) had used funding from Scottish Enterprise to demonstrate that the right bacteria would feed on whisky bi-product to produce butanol – a direct replacement for vehicle fuel.


Its fermentation process uses the two main by-products of whisky production – ‘pot ale’, which is the residue left in copper stills, and ‘draff’, the spent grains.


Each year the industry produces 1,600 million litres of pot ale and 500,000 tonnes of draff.


Research has suggested biobutanol provides 25% more power output than the traditional bioethanol.


In contrast to ethanol, butanol can run in unmodified engines with petrol and may also be blended with diesel and biodiesel.


Prof Martin Tangney, founder of Celtic Renewables and director of Napier University’s Biofuel Research Centre, said: “The Scottish malt whisky industry is a ripe resource for developing biobutanol.


“The pot ale and draff could be converted into biofuel as a direct substitute for fossil-derived fuel, which would reduce oil consumption and CO2 emissions while also providing energy security – particularly in the rural and remote homelands of the whisky industry.”