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Soon, biofuel made from whiskey to power cars

January 26, 2012 - London

A start-up firm in Scotland will soon be manufacturing biofuel made from whisky by-products, which could be used as a direct alternative for fossil-derived fuel.

Edinburgh Napier University's Celtic Renewables Ltd will initially focus on Scotland's 4 billion pounds malt whisky industry to develop biobutanol and other chemicals, the BBC reported.

The company has asserted that the process also had "huge global potential" to be adapted to other biological by-products.

Celtic Renewables is currently working with Scottish Enterprise to produce the biofuel from sustainable resources on an industrial scale.

The fermentation procedure uses two main by-products of whisky production - 'pot ale', which is the residue left in copper stills, and 'draff', the spent grains.

According to the research, biobutanol provides 25 percent more power output than the traditional bioethanol.

Compared to ethanol, butanol can run in unmodified engines with petrol and may also be mixed with diesel and biodiesel.

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

"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."

"Turning our whisky industry's by-products into raw materials for sustainable biofuels which can be used to power ordinary family cars is an example of the sort of innovative thinking Scotland excels in," Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said.


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