Could Whisky Be the Automotive Fuel of the Future? Maybe.

A unique source for clean energy

Consider it a "spirited" approach to green energy.
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The race to power vehicles with something other than fossil fuels has led engineers and scientists to some unexpected places. One of them involves fueling cars with something not traditionally associated with safe driving — namely, whisky. Well, technically, it’s a whisky byproduct, but that sense of slight cognitive dissonance persists.

Could distilleries lead to a cleaner world for everyone? The answer: maybe!

A new article at CNN discusses the work being done by the startup Celtic Renewables, which uses the byproducts from the distillation process — which are vast — as an alternative to oil- and gas-based fuels. Given that a lot of this waste currently heads to landfills or is otherwise disposed of, the idea that it could be converted into something people need is eminently enticing.

This approach has found some takers at the distilleries themselves — last year, Glenfiddich announced that it was using biogas made from waste from its distillation process in order to power its delivery trucks.

As CNN reports, Celtic Renewables founder Martin Tangney has a background in biofuels, and set up a research center for them at Edinburgh’s Napier University. That was in 2007, and in the years that followed, he explored different options before determining that whisky was his best option.

Celtic Renewables has produced a biobutanol that the company has used to power a Ford that has no modifications. Based on what he told CNN, Tangney feels that a similar process could be used for the waste produced by other industries nearby, including dairy production. He’s also touted the ability to use whisky waste products as an alternative to oil in other ways, such as in plastics manufacturing. It’s an ambitious plan, but if it pans out, it’s worth raising a glass.


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