For an Edinburgh-based firm is aiming to turn waste products from Scotland’s most famous export into vehicle fuel on a commercial scale.
The initial aim of Celtic Renewables, the biotechnical firm behind the development of the process, is to produce a million litres of biobutanol – a petrol/diesel alternative that doesn’t necessitate changes to engines – at a new plant it hopes to have up and running by 2018, Auto Express has reported.
Using biobutanol to replace petrol and diesel, says the company, would help the drive to meet environmental targets by reducing CO2 emissions.
Last year, the firm was awarded an £11 million grant by the Department for Transport. The money is to be used to help fund its new plant in Grangemouth near Falkirk.
The plant will be used to turn pot ale and draff – waste produced by distilleries during the whisky-making process – into the fuel, Professor Martin Tangney, Celtic Renewables’ founder and president, told Auto Express.
But the firm isn’t aiming to oust conventional fuel retailers. The biobutanol, Professor Tangney says, could then be blended with petrol to provide motorists with a lower-emission fuel.
And, unlike bioethanol – another biofuel – its energy content means a car can run on it without requiring changes to its engine.
Producing biobutanol for motorists, Professor Tangney continues, will also result in hundreds of tonnes of whisky residue being converted into fuel instead of having to be disposed of.
And the fact that it can be blended with conventional fuel means there will be no need to invest in new infrastructure, he says.
It is not only UK motorists who could benefit from whisky’s by-products, the company, which was established just four years ago, said as it has attracted interest from several other countries, including Japan, which also produces whisky.