The Second Best Thing to Come From Whisky Production
Edinburgh researchers create new energy-rich biofuel from whisky byproducts.
Researchers at Edinburgh Napier University's Biofuel Research Center used a modified version of a 100-year-old process known as acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation to turn the waste products from Glenkinchie whisky into a usable fuel. The waste products are pot ale, the liquid run-off from copper stills, and the spent grains known as "draff." Plenty of the stuff is lying around -- about 1,600 liters of pot ale and 187,000 tons of draff -- thanks to the massive production of the $6.2 billion scotch industry.
The fuel created by the process, called biobutanol, has many advantages over regular old ethanol: It creates 30 percent more output power, meaning it's more efficient; and it has lower vapor pressure and a higher flashpoint and is less corrosive, meaning its safer to handle, store and transport. Also, while ethanol can be blended only with gasoline in order to be used, biobutanol can be blended with diesel or biodiesel fuel, or even used alone as a fuel without any modifications to the vehicle.
So far, so good. The team is looking to patent the fuel and form a company to get it into pumps near you and me. If the fuel is as good as reported, here's a healthy slainte to them.
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