Celtic Renewables fuels vehicle with biofuel from whisky residue

By Erin Voegele | July 14, 2017

Scotland-based Celtic Renewables Ltd. has announced the inaugural journey of the first car to be fueled with its biofuel made from whisky residue.

"This is the first time in history that a car has ever been driven with a biofuel produced from whisky production residues,” said Martin Tangney, president and founder of Celtic Renewables, in a statement. “It is fitting to do this historic drive in Scotland, which is famous not just for its world-renowned whisky but also for being a powerhouse for renewable energy. Celtic Renewables is playing its part in sustainability by taking this initiative from a research project at Edinburgh Napier University to, what we believe will be, a multi-billion-pound global business with the opportunity to turn transport green."

The company produces biobased butanol using draff, the sugar-rich kernels of barely that are soaked in water to facilitate the fermentation process necessary for production, and pot ale, the copper-containing yeasty liquid that is leftover following distillation.

Celtic Renewables is a spinout company from Edinburgh Napier University, and works closely with Tullibardine Distillery. According to the company, Scotland’s malt whisky industry produces nearly 750,000 metric tons of draff each year, along with 2 billion liters (528,344 gallons) of pot ale. Celtic Renewables plans to convert these waste materials into biobutanol.