Whisky-Fueled Car: Water of Life Becomes a Fuel

When the earliest Scottish distillers conducted the distillation process to make whisky for the first time, they never thought that the beverage would someday be used for fueling cars. Yes, you read that right. Celtic Renewables have successfully powered and test-run a car powered by a biofuel which was produced from the by-products of whiskey.

A Dram For  Driving

As they say, “One man's trash is another man's treasure”.

Biobutanol is produced using barley draff and pot ale, a yeast-like fluid that remains after the fermentation process is complete. It is not only a significant achievement for the automobile industry but it is a big step forward for the environment too. Biofuels may soon replace conventional fuels and innovations such as these will open up new spaces for a better future. However, the use of biobutanol to replace an existing technology or process isn’t a new idea. Such fermentation techniques have been used in the past too.

Chaim Weizmann was a pioneer in the field of chemistry and had developed the acetone–butanol–ethanol fermentation process. It is the same process that Celtic Renewables is using to engineer solutions for new age biofuel.  Biobutanol, the fuel that is being used by Celtic, has been outlined by experts as a perfect substitute for diesel and petrol. It also does not require the vehicles to replace their engine and therefore is a completely feasible option. Weizmann himself had used the similar process of fermentation to make acetone, which was then used to make munition during the First World War.

The One Standing Tall

Celtic Renewables Ltd is a spin-off organization from the University of Edinburgh Napier. It has teamed up with Perthshire's Tullibardine Distillery on this venture. The whisky industry has been shelling out 1,600 million liters of residual pot ale and 500,000 tonnes of leftover grains as residue. The organization has decided to put it to better use by turning it into fuel. The founder and president of Celtic Renewables, Martin Tangney, has stated that the whisky industry has no use for these waste materials and therefore these can be used to further their noble cause. This is the first time a car has been fuelled using a biofuel that has been created out of whisky. Their purpose is to “turn transport green”. The historic drive that took place in Scotland and was made possible due to Tullibardine distillery manager’s forward thinking attitude. The distillery looks forward to wide implementation of the energy in all spheres of the transport domain, and feels that this is a groundbreaking achievement for the renewable energy and Scottish whisky industry alike. The Edinburgh based company has also received £9 million worth of funding from the Scottish government who co-invested in building a commercial demonstrator plant in Grangemouth.

Towards A Greener World

At the turn of the 21st century, governments all over the world have given a lot of impetus on environmental safety measures. With the climate change conference taking place twice in the year 2001, everyone was moving towards finding new sources of renewable energy. In a world like that, electric cars and cars which can run on biofuel are a boon for the automobile industry. Because the distillation process for whisky itself contributes to carbon emissions, sustainable residue disposal methods and a renewable source of energy will be in vogue for the days to come.