Scientist developing alternatives to fossil fuels (read petrol and diesel) have made a major breakthrough over the weekend, and it comes from perhaps one of the most unlikely of sources - scotch whisky.
Yes, that's right, scientists in Scotland have reportedly figured out a way to create alternative fuels for cars by converting waste materials from the whisky-making process into a 'whisky biofuel' that could one day replace petrol and diesel.
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Working in partnership with the Highland-based Tullibardine Distillery, researchers from Celtic Renewables Ltd. were able to make the whisky biofuel from two specific waste materials produced in the whisky-making process: draff (barley kernels) and pot ale (a yeasty liquid resulting from fermentation).
According to founder and president of Celtic Renewables Ltd. Prof. Martin Tangney, the team was able to make the whisky biofuel, which is called biobutanol, by developing the process to combine the liquid with the solid, and by using an entirely different traditional fermentation process called ABE.
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He adds, "This is the first time in history that a car has ever been driven with a biofuel produced from whisky production residues." He further notes that said whisky biofuel developed by his firm stands as a direct replacement for both petrol and diesel. You view the demonstration filmed by Reuters by clicking here.
Best of all? Unlike most other biofuels, this whisky biofuel is reportedly compatible with most - if not all - modern petrol and diesel engines found in most cars today. The firm adds that no special modifications or tweaks are needed to let your car run on biobutanol.
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If you didn't know, the final output of bottled Scotch whisky is only 10% of what the entire process makes. There are over 2 billion litres of pot ale and some 50,000 tons of draff produced annually in between, with most of which being washed out to sea. By repurposing them as biofuel, it will see a great reduction of these wastes going out to sea.
Having successfully proving this concept, the firm has been awarded a £9 million grant to build a "commercial demonstrator plant" that's expected to be fully operational by 2019. The company will also be targeting other whisky-producing countries like America.
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If this takes off properly and on a large scale, it could give "one for the road" a whole new meaning. We'll definitely hold our glasses up to a future where scotch whisky gives us both a good time and fuel for our cars.