Edinburgh Napier University’s Biofuel Research Center, UK, has launched a spin-out company, Celtic Renewables Ltd., to commercialize a process for producing biofuel from whisky by-products.
Scotland’s whisky industry produces 1600 million litres of pot ale, the liquid from the copper stills, and 500,000 tonnes of draff, the spent grain, each year. The company will use both of these by-products in a fermentation process to create biobutanol. Unlike other biofuels, biobutanol can be used as a direct replacement for petrol, or as a blend, without the need for engine modification. It also has 25 % more energy per unit volume than bioethanol and can be blended in blending facilities, storage tanks, or retail pump stations.
The production process also produces other sustainable chemicals, acetone and ethanol, as well as high grade sustainable animal feed.
Celtic Renewables, Scotland’s first biobutanol company, is the brainchild of Professor Martin Tangney, who says that the process will reduce oil consumption and CO2 emissions while also providing energy security – particularly in the rural and remote homelands of the whisky industry.