Whisky-Powered Cars for Scotland

Researchers at Edinburgh Napier University have developed a chemical process using the two main by-products of whisky production to make butanol, which can be used to fuel vehicles. The two by-products used are pot ale, which is a liquid, and the spent whisky grains, called draff.

Scotland produces large quantities of whisky, enough that there are 1,600 million  liters of pot ale and 187,000 tons of draff left over. These waste products can now be used to create biobutanol, which is said to produce 30 percent more power than ethanol.  The university has filed a patent for the new biofuel and envisions a commercial operation to produce and sell it. Biobutanol can be used in ordinary cars, and requires no adaptions. The plan is to have the new biofuel available at petrol pumps already in use. Presumably it would be blended with conventional petroleum fuel to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It could also be offered in a pure form.

The World Wildlife Fund’s Scotland Director, Dr. Richard Dixon commented, ” The production of some biofuels can cause massive environmental damage to forests and wildlife. So, whisky powered-cars could help Scotland avoid having to use those forest-trashing biofuels.”

Producing more biofuels is part of the effort by European Union countries to reduce their impact on climate change. The EU has set a goal of having ten percent of all fuel sales be biofuels. Biofuels typically are made from plant sources like corn, sugar cane, or soy beans and rapeseed.

The biobutanol chemistry was based on fermentation research conducted by Chaim Weizmann many decades ago. He was also the first president of Israel.

Image Credit: Public Domain

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68 comments

Dave C.
Dave C.3 years ago

wow....

Michael Kirkby
Michael Kirkby3 years ago

There are so many different things we can make fuel out of. Look at Vaxjo in Sweden. This city has since 1997 run every facet of itself including hydro; transit and transportation on fuel produced from bio materials. They created a factory that would process all human, animal and plant waste into methane gas that they convert to energy. It shows you what can be done when the politicians and the people are willing to work for the betterment of the environment. I've suggested that they build several around the GTA. The hot air alone from Ottawa and Queen's Park should be enough to power each city in turn with lots left over. Don't forget to invest in the invertor/convertor units so you existing hydro grid can utilize it. Isn't that so Mr. McGuinty?

Michael Kirkby
Michael Kirkby3 years ago

There are so many different things we can make fuel out of. Look at Vaxjo in Sweden. This city has since 1997 run every facet of itself including hydro; transit and transportation on fuel produced from bio materials. They created a factory that would process all human, animal and plant waste into methane gas that they convert to energy. It shows you what can be done when the politicians and the people are willing to work for the betterment of the environment. I've suggested that they build several around the GTA. The hot air alone from Ottawa and Queen's Park should be enough to power each city in turn with lots left over. Don't forget to invest in the invertor/convertor units so you existing hydro grid can utilize it. Isn't that so Mr. McGuinty?

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.3 years ago

thanks

paul m.
paul m.3 years ago

Well ,,the Germans used wine too fuel there tanks in the 2 nd worrld war ???

Duane B.
.3 years ago

So you get a flat tire, and then drink the tank dry waiting for the tow truck?!! ;-)

Sue H.
Sue H.3 years ago

Just so long as it's not one of their fine single malt scotch products, I'm thinking that this is a great idea. Let's hear it for by products fueling the world.

KS Goh
KS Goh3 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Angie Mehippie
Angelia Brown4 years ago

Sweet!

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago

Thanks.