Whiskey Fuels Cars
Photo via flickr by indi.ca
Filling up at the pump in the near future may offer another biofuel alternative—whiskey. Scottish scientists recently announced a biofuel made with by-products from the distillation process of Scottish whiskey.
The Scottish £4bn whiskey industry seemed a ripe resource for developing biobutanol – the next generation of biofuel which gives 30% more output power than ethanol—to the team at Edinburgh Napier University, who have a patent on the product. Martin Tangney, who is leading the research, said that five or 10 percent of the biofuel could be blended with petrol or diesel, and could be used to fuel ordinary cars without any type of special adaptations.
The ‘whiskey’ biofuel uses the two main by-products of the whisky production process – ‘pot ale’, the liquid from the copper stills, and ‘draff’, the spent grains, as the basis for producing the butanol that can then be used as fuel.
With 1,600 million litres of pot ale and 187,000 tonnes of draff produced by the malt whiskey industry annually, there is real potential for biofuel to be available at local stations alongside traditional fuels, one step closer to the EU goal of making biofuels account for 10% of total fuel sales by 2020.
The technology for developing bio-fuel from whisky was inspired from a 100 year old process, created by Chaim Weizmann, a Jewish refugee chemist in Manchester who studied the butanol fermentation initially as part of a programme to produce rubber synthetically.