Cars Could Run on Whisky Based Biofuel

Scottish scientists at Edinburgh Napier University have developed a new whisky biofuel that can power cars, based on a formula that makes use of waste by-products left over from whisky production. They combined pot ale, which is the liquid from copper stills distillery equipment, with the spent grains used to make whisky, also known as draff, to produce butanol.

Researchers state that butanol can deliver 30 percent more power than traditional ethanol fuels. The research was reportedly based on technology once used to manufacture explosives during WWI and WWII, reports.

However, while ethanol can only be blended up to 85 percent and requires engine modification, the biofuel can be introduced to unmodified engines with any gasoline blend.

As part of a two-year research project, funded by a GBP260,000 grant from the Scottish Enterprise’s ‘Proof of Concept’ program, the University now plans to create a dedicated company to take the new fuel to market and leverage the commercial opportunity, in the bid to make it available to consumers.

“The EU has declared that biofuels should account for 10 percent of total fuel sales by 2020. We’re committed to finding new, innovative renewable energy sources,” Professor Martin Tangney, Director of the Biofuel Research Centre at Edinburgh Napier University, said.

“While some energy companies are growing crops specifically to generate biofuel, we are investigating excess materials such as whisky by-products to develop them. This is a more environmentally sustainable option and potentially offers new revenue on the back of one Scotland’s biggest industries. We’ve worked with some of the country’s leading whisky producers to develop the process.”
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