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20.8.10

A peg of scotch whisky can reduce carbon emission too as scientists in Scotland have developed a biofuel from the by-products of whisky which can be used to power cars.

Edinburgh Napier University has filed a patent for the biofuel which has been created in two years by the university's Biofuel Research Centre. The university now plans to create a "spin-out" company to take the fuel to the market, according to Daily Mail.

According to the researchers, two by-products from the whisky production process - "pot ale", the liquid from the copper stills, and "draff", the spent grains - are used to produce butanol which can be used as fuel.

Martin Tangney, who is leading the research and is director of the Biofuel Research Centre, said: "The new biofuel is made from biological material which has been already generated. Theoretically it could be used entirely on its own but you would have to find a company to distribute it. "The most likely form of distribution of the biofuel would be a blend of perhaps five percent or 10 percent of the biofuel with petrol or diesel but 5 percent or 10 percent means less oil which would make a big, big difference.

"This is a more environmentally sustainable option and potentially offers new revenue on the back of one Scotland's biggest industries. We've worked with some of the country's leading whisky producers to develop the process," Martin said.

The 260,000-pound research project was funded by Scottish Enterprise's Proof of Concept programme.

"By proactively taking innovative ideas from the laboratory to the global market place, Scotland can continue to compete at the highest level and successfully boost its economic recovery," said Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise.

Scottish Government Energy Minister Jim Mather said: "This innovative use of waste products demonstrates a new sustainable option for the biofuel industry, while also supporting the economic and environmental objectives of the Scottish Government's new Zero Waste Plan."

WWF Scotland's director, Richard Dixon, said: "Scotch whisky is world-renowned and one of Scotland's biggest exports, so it is great to see plans that could not only help power the cars on our roads and reduce fossil fuel emissions but also help reduce the environmental impacts of the industry itself.

"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." 

 

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