After two years work by Edinburgh Napier University at the biofuel research centre, the team have revealed that a new bio-fuel, which is made from whiskey bi- products, has been developed. The project which cost £260,000 was funded by Scottish Enterprise’s Proof of Concept programme. During the research, samples of whisky distilling by products were provided by the Glenkinchie Distillery in Edinburgh.
Director of the bio-fuel research centre at Edinburgh Napier University, Professor Martin Tangney, said: “The EU has declared that biofuels should account for 10% of total fuel sales by 2020. We’re committed to finding new, innovative renewable energy sources. While some energy companies are growing crops specifically to generate biofuel, we are investigating excess materials such as whisky by products to develop them.”
The research team focused on the whisky industry in a bid to develop biobutanol, which is the next generation of bio-fuel and which gives 30 per cent more output power than ethanol. The two main by products of the whisky production process were used in the development. The products being pot ale (the liquid from the copper stills) and draff (the spent grains). Over one and a half million litres of pot ale and 187,000 tonnes of draff are produced each year by the whiskey industry. The team believe that ordinary cars could use this more powerful fuel, instead of using petrol. The university have plans to market the new fuel in a bid to have it available at the pumps. In the future people could be getting a motor insurance quote for a car using whiskey instead of petrol or diesel.
WWF Scotland’s director, Dr Richard Dixon, said: “Last year the whisky industry published plans to help lower its environmental impact and it is clear that this scheme could assist them in doing just that. Since the whisky industry relies on Scotland’s clean environment for its main ingredients it would be great if the industry could help Scotland reduce its emissions from road transport.”