Could Cars Soon be Running on Whisky?

Imagine the scenario…You go to the fuel station but instead of filling your car with Diesal or Unleaded, you fill your car’s fuel tank with Whisky! It’s the stuff of motorists dreams with so many ecological aspirations. Running a car on other cheaper products could make global shortages of fuel a thing of the past! Well there has been a development in the world of motoring that could take us one step further to that goal.

Celtic Renewables has been working on the idea, however, it’s not quite whiskey that runs the cars. Instead, more of a by product of the whisky making process, some may argue that it is the next best thing. Celtic Renewables is a spin-off from Napier University in Edinburgh. Together, the team behind the innovative company have developed a process that creates a kind of working bio-fuel from the leftovers of Scotch whisky.

Pretty exciting stuff, considering that whiskey is a popular drink among many, it’s made in it’s lorry load. One can imagine that there are plenty of leftovers to be made use of. Professor Martin Tangney from Celtic Renewables is quoted as saying: “It’s an advanced biofuel which is a drop-in replacement for petrol”.

Taking a look at the statistics, it’s found that only around 7% from the distilling process leaves the producers as ready-to-drink whisky. This isn’t a lot, meaning that the rest of the 93% is waste product. It’s often referred to as a ‘by-product’, ‘residue’ or ¬†simply rubbish that gets thrown away, possibly causing more damage to the environment. This new plan could make use of some or all of this. Being economical as a driver is something that we at Want Driving Lessons feel strongly about, this extends to encouraging environmental awareness- so this idea gets a big thumbs up from us!

The Science Bit: How Does it Work?

The distilling process creates hundreds of thousands of tonnes of spent barley kernels. This is known in the industry as ‘draff’. Alongside this draff are litres of liquid leftovers called ‘pot ale’. Until now, this has been considered useless by many, but both of these substances are very rich in sugars that are not passed onto the actual Scotch itself. The clever people at Celtic Renewables mixes these and adds a number of other bacteria rendering the product useful as fuel. It’s said that the result is a usable fuel ready to be put in the tank of a car and used. This is without having to modify or change the car in any way.

The professor goes on to say of the experiments: “What we’re trying to do is take the low value residues that are generated along with the whisky and see if we can convert those low value products into something of high value, in particular we’re concentrating on biobutanol. It’s an advanced biofuel which is a drop-in replacement for petrol.”

Could this new solution be ‘Plan B’ if we run out of fossil fuels? Could this concoction be a cheaper alternative to drivers on a budget? Stay tuned to Want Driving Lessons for up-to-date developments!¬†

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