Whiskey Waste Used to Make Biofuel

Biofuel out of whiskey druff 1 photo
Photo: Celtic Renewables
When it comes to biofuels, most people think of ethanol obtained from crops or biodiesel made out of fat and other natural oils. But using only crops to create biofuel won’t cut it and we should also turn to creating waste into the liquid that powers our lives. One such wastes is the draff coming out of the whiskey distillery.
Edinburgh-based startup company Celtic Renewables found a way create biobutanol out of draff and pot ale. The alternative fuel can be used to power pretty much every internal combustion engine without modifications, or can be blended with regular fuels.

The company’s CEO Mark Simmers expects to start commercial scale production in 2015, as it’s currently working with the Tullibardine whisky distillery in Blackford, Scotland.

How it works

The process behind the whole thing is called ABE (Acetone, Butane, Ethanol) fermentation and it starts with mixing the pot ale and draff into a fermented slurry. The latter is then distilled to obtain butanol, ethanol and acetone. Everything that’s left then is separated and dried up to be used as high-grade animal feed.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone. The distillery normally had to pay other entrepreneurs to come and take away the “useless” leftovers and feed the pigs with them. Now, the draff will generate fuel, spare some crops and then go to the pigs.]

Everything revolves around finding sustainable ways of living and making the most out of everything, and what we learned here is a perfect example of doing so. We are over 7 billion people on this planet and counting at an alarming rate. If we don’t act, we might turn our little round gem into a lump of charcoal at one point.
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