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Car powered by whisky biofuel hits the road

Friday, July 07, 2017 - 01:56

A car powered by biofuel derived from the waste products of whisky making has first successful test drive. Matthew Stock reports.

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The phrase 'one for the road' could soon take on a whole new meaning. This car is being filled with a biofuel made from the unwanted residue of whisky production. It's the first time Edinburgh-base Celtic Renewables have tested their petrol and diesel alternative, called biobutanol. The car's engine hasn't been modified. Instead the company has re-adapted a century-old fermentation process that was abandoned in the era of cheap gasoline. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CELTIC RENEWABLES FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, MARTIN TANGNEY, SAYING: "It's quite fitting to use a Ford for this historic drive as the original Model-T Ford ran on biofuel and the fermentation that we've developed to put the fuel in this car is a hundred years old, proven at large scale. And we're simply going back to the past to bring the whole technology into a modern context." The team first made biobutanol in their lab at Edinburgh Napier University. It's made from waste barley kernels known as draff which is combined with pot ale, a yeasty liquid left over after distillation The Scottish malt whisky industry produces some 50,000 tonnes of draff and 2 billion litres of pot ale each year. SOUNDBITE) (English) CELTIC RENEWABLES FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, MARTIN TANGNEY, SAYING: "In making our fuel from the residues of the Scottish malt whisky industry, we can provide both an economic and environmental sustainability to the industry and grow a brand new sustainable industry of scale in this country that we can export all over the work." The company recently received £9 million in funding to build a production plant, which aims to be up and running in 2019. It will be able to produce half a million litres of the fuel with the waste from a their existing distillery partner. But, they say, all the raw material available in Scotland means they could eventually produce 50 million litres of biofuel a year.

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Car powered by whisky biofuel hits the road

Friday, July 07, 2017 - 01:56