Now cars to drive on whisky
18 August 2010
Driving a car after a whisky binge has always posed risks of being caught by law enforcers, but not if the vehicle is high on whisky.
Scientist from Edinburgh Napier University has filed a patent for the new biofuel, created from whisky by-products that could power cars.
The innovative new super biofuel has been developed over the last two years by Professor Martin Tangney, director of the Edinburgh Napier's Biofuel Research Centre, which could help power cars currently on the road without the need to make any special mechanical changes to cars.
Using samples of whisky distilling by-products from Diageo's Glenkinchie Distillery, Tangney and his research team used the two main by-products of the whisky production process – 'pot ale', the liquid from the copper stills, and 'draff', the spent grains, as the basis for producing the butanol that can then be used as fuel.
The team focused on the £4 billion ($6.2 billion) UK whisky industry to develop the bio-butanol fuel that gives cars 30 per cent more output power than ethanol, since unlike ethanol, the composite nature of the bio-fuel could lead to ordinary cars using the more powerful fuel instead of traditional petrol.
With 1,600 million litres of pot ale and 187,000 tonnes of draff produced by the malt whisky industry annually in the UK, the research team believes there is real potential for bio-fuel to be available at local gas stations alongside traditional fuels.
Edinburgh Napier University has filed a patent for the biofuel and intend to create a spin-out company to make the fuel available at petrol pumps.
"The European Union has declared that biofuels should account for 10 per cent of total fuel sales by 2020. We're committed to finding new, innovative renewable energy sources,'' said Tangney.
"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,'' he added.