Whisky Could be the Fuel of the Future

   |  Updated: October 28, 2014 14:07 IST

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Whisky Could be the Fuel of the Future
Did you know that almost 90% of resources are wasted while making whisky? Only close to 10% of resources and ingredients are used to make the liquor. In most cases the waste is utilized in processing animal feed or is generally dumped. A Scottish start-up company has come up with an innovative idea to put this waste to use. The company has explored possible ways of utilizing whisky's by-products and use them to generate the next-generation bio-fuel.

The whisky industry annually produces 1,600 million litres of pot ale and 500,000 tonnes of draff from the distilling process. These are classified under residual waste derived from whisky. Draff and pot ale "have no commercial value, and in the modern context they represent a disposal issue," said Martin Tangney, founder, president, and chief scientific officer of the Edinburgh-based firm.

If the residual solids are put to proper use, it will help in developing an alternative to fossil-derived fuel as well as assist in keeping a check on oil consumption, carbon-dioxide emissions and provide an energy guarantee for rural areas that have a booming whisky industry.

Celtic Renewables Ltd experimented with an old industrial process of turning molasses and other sugars into chemicals. The improved method is now being used to convert draff and pot ale into acetone, 1-butanol and ethanol. Butanol and ethanol can be used as fuel.

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Bio-butanol alone has many advantages over bio-ethanol and other bio-fuels. It has more energy, lower vapour pressure, is easy to store and handle and can easily be mixed and used with petrol and diesel. According to the team at Celtic Renewables, recycling waste from whisky industry and turning it into bio-butanol can serve as a great alternative to traditional bio-fuels and fossil- derived fuels. The team hopes to scale up the operations to a higher level to develop this new generation fuel.

Inputs from PTI


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