Whisky is good for a lot of things – sipping by the fire, stirring into an Old Fashioned, and channeling your inner Don Draper – and now it’s even being used to power cars. Last month, researchers successfully tested a car run on biofuel made from whisky residue.
The biofuel, called biobutanol, is made from the barley kernels, called draff, and pot ale, a yeasty, carbohydrate – and protein-rich liquid, both left over from fermentation. This fuel can work in any car that runs on gas and diesel, and has no effect on the driving experience according to Lisa Summers of BBC Scotland. The biobutanol was created by Celtic Renewables Ltd. in Scotland in conjunction with Tullibardine Distillery, a Scottish maker of single malt whisky in the village of Blackford.
“What we developed was a process to combine the liquid with the solid, and used an entirely different traditional fermentation process called ABE, and it makes the chemical called biobutanol. And that is a direct replacement, here and now, for petrol,” Martin Tangney, founder of Celtic Renewables and director of Edinburgh Napier University’s Biofuel Research Centre told the BBC.
The company believes their new fuel will create an industry worth over £100 million – the Scottish government has already invested 9 million in the project, which is planning to open a factory in 2018 that can produce 500,000 liters of the fuel annually. There’s also an economic benefit for Tullibardine, who has agreed to contribute the draff and pot ale. Giving it to Celtic Renewables will cut the nearly $400,000 a year cost of disposing the whisky waste residues.
Whisky is undeniably a popular drink, especially in Scotland. Celtic Renewables will also be targeting the United States, Ireland, Canada and Japan, countries that are major producers of whisky.
The Scots aren’t the only ones thinking green. VinePair points out that Volvo recently decided to only produce hybrid or elective vehicles by 2019; Ford has made a major push for clean transportation; and Tesla, an all-electric company, was briefly the most valuable car company in the United States. The latter is also rolling out the Tesla Model 3, an affordable option as demand has continued to increase. There’s no denying that alternative fuel is the future – we just never thought the liquid responsible for many a fun night would also be responsible for a clean fuel alternative.