Scottish start-up aims to power up cars with whiskey by-product

25 Sep 2012

Prof Martin Tangney, founder and chief scientific officer, Celtic Renewables, in the barrelling room at the Tullibardine distillery

Celtic Renewables, a spin-out from Napier University in Edinburgh, is teaming up with the Scottish distillery Tullibardine in a pilot project in order to convert whiskey production by-products into biofuel to power up cars.

Tullibardine, an independent whiskey producer, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Celtic Renewables, a start-up that is developing technology to produce biobutanol from the by-products of whiskey production.

Zero Waste Scotland is also set to fund the pilot demonstration project via a stg£155,000 grant.

Using a bacterial fermentation process, the plan is to work on the by-products of the whiskey-making process at Tullibardine to convert pot ale and draff into biobutanol.

According to Tullibardine’s managing director Douglas Ross, the distillery spends stg£250,000 disposing of its by-products every year.

Celtic Renewables, a spin-out from the Biofuel Research Centre at Napier University, is also planning to build a processing plant in Scotland to help spawn a waste-to-biofuel industry that it believes could be worth stg£60m a year.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic