Whisky Biofuel: Scottish Engineers Want to Give Your Car a Stiff Drink

By Joseph Calamia | August 19, 2010 10:21 am

whiskeyBeef, butter sculptures, and people byproducts have made for some good biofuels. Now Scottish researchers are looking to whisky. Processing whisky waste–pot ale, the liquid in copper stills, and draff, leftovers from grain–researchers at Edinburgh Napier University have created butanol which they claim can provide 25 percent more energy per unit volume than ethanol, a more typical biofuel.

Martin Tangney, project director, told The Guardian that every country should use its own particular brand of waste instead of growing crops for biofuels:

“What people need to do is stop thinking ‘either or’; people need to stop thinking like for like substitution for oil. That’s not going to happen. Different things will be needed in different countries.”

In Scotland’s case those things include the leftovers from a stiff drink. The country’s estimated six billion dollar whisky industry produces 1,600 million liters of pot ale and 187,000 tons of draff annually. In America’s case, perhaps we should instead turn to human fat?

Sugar fermentation makes the conversion from leftovers to butanol possible, and researchers say cars could use the fuel without modifying their engines by using a mixture of butanol and gasoline.

Related content:
Discoblog: Rancid Butter Sculptures: A Great Untapped Biofuel Source?
Discoblog: All Aboard the Beef Train–Amtrak Debuts a Train Running on Beef Biofuel
Discoblog: Dr. 90210 Powers SUV with Liposuctioned Fat
Discoblog: Finally! A Self-Sustaining, Sewage-Processing, Poop-Powered Rocket
Discoblog: This Poop Mobile Could Get All Its Energy From 70 Homes’ Worth of Methane

Image: flickr / foxypar4

  • http://Untitledvanityproject.blogspot.com Rhacodactylus

    I love this plan, and I’m willing to do my part. I personally will consume enough whisky to produce the necessary waste to run my car. Not to be a pain, but when it’s Scottish “whisky” there is no “e.”

  • Left_Wing_Fox

    In all seriousness, there may well be a market for capture and processing of used fast-food fryer oil for diesel engines, especially in fast-food friendly North America.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/ Eliza Strickland

    Right you are, Rhacodactylus. Thanks! I’ll fix that.

  • Joseph Calamia

    Thanks, Rhacodactylus!

  • Buy Whisky Online

    Buy Whisky

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    ourselves on stocking quality drams at reasonable prices, including
    some rare and hard to find whiskies.


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