Whisky galore for Scottish renewable energy project

A partnership that will use the by-products from whisky making in Scotland to make butanol for transportation has been signed.

The Tullibardine distillery in Perthshire has signed a MoU with Celtic Renewables, an off-shoot of Napier University, to allow bacteria to feed on its draff and pot ale by-products which are high in sugar content.

‘This partnership is an important step in the development of a business which combines two iconic Scottish industries - whisky and renewables,’ says Celtic Renewables founder Martin Tangney. ‘This project demonstrates that innovative use of existing technologies can utilise resources on our doorstep to benefit both the environment and the economy.’

Tullibardine currently spends £250,000 ($405,800) a year disposing of its by-products so its MD Douglas Ross is happy that ‘it takes a cost to us and turns it into something that has both social and commercial value’.

The pilot demonstration project will be funded with the aid of a £155,000 grant from Zero Waste Scotland and Celtic Renewables CEO Mark Simmers believes it could see the start of something big in the country.

‘If we were to use all the by-products from Scottish distilleries, it would still leave us with almost 1.5 billion litres of pot ale. We could make at least the same volume of fuels again by using alternative waste or residue material such as paper and brewery waste,’ he says.

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