Scottish renewables company claims world’s first car to be fuelled by its whisky-waste biofuel has taken its inaugural journey

No details of the whisky-waste fuelled car's first journey have been provided by developer Martin Tangney at Celtic Renewables.
MYSTERY TOUR: No details of the whisky-waste fuelled car’s first journey were provided by developer Martin Tangney at Celtic Renewables.

An Edinburgh-based company which makes ‘green’ fuel for motor vehicles has claimed that the world’s first car to be fuelled by whisky-distilling residue has made its inaugural journey.

Celtic Renewables Ltd issued a publicity photograph of founder Professor Martin Tangney alongside what appears to be a traditional internal-combustion engine motor vehicle.

But the company did not specify where the ‘inaugural journey’ took place, how far it travelled or how many miles per gallon it achieved on its bio-butanol fuel.

Using a 100-year old formula first devised in the UK at the start of the last century to produce acetone for explosives for the First World War, Celtic Renewables uses bacterial fermentation to produce bio-butanol. It was phased-out in the 1960s due to competition from the petrochemical industry.

It is produced from draff – the sugar-rich kernels of barley which are soaked in water to facilitate the fermentation process necessary for whisky production – and pot ale, the copper-containing yeasty liquid that is left over following distillation.

Celtic Renewables has been collaborating in the process with Tullibardine distillery in Perthshire.

Each year the malt whisky industry produces almost 750,000 tonnes of draff and 2 billion litres of pot ale in Scotland and Celtic Renewables plans to use this waste by-product by converting it into millions of litres of biofuel.

Tangney claimed: “This is the first time in history that a car has ever been driven with a biofuel produced from whisky production residues.

 “It is fitting to do this historic drive in Scotland, which is famous not just for its world-renowned whisky but also for being a powerhouse for renewable energy.

 “Celtic Renewables is playing its part in sustainability by taking this initiative from a research project at Edinburgh Napier University to, what we believe will be, a multi-billion-pound global business with the opportunity to turn transport green.” 

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