At A Moment of Science, we’d like to propose a toast… to innovation!
Scientists have discovered a way to use whiskey by-products to create a new biofuel, called butanol. This research from Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland could mean great things for the Scottish economy and the environment.
The two main components are ‘pot ale‘ (liquid produced from copper stills) and ‘draff‘ (grains that are spent after the whiskey-making process). These materials are already being created in large quantities by the Scotch whiskey industry, so why not put them to good use?
Butanol is an alcohol that can be used as fuel, very similar to ethanol. However, butanol actually produced 25% more energy per volume than ethanol!
The product can be used on its own (to power a vehicle, etc.), but there is not yet a company to distribute it. The developing scientists say that 10% of butanol can be added to other fuel like diesel. That may not seem like much, but it adds up quickly, saving lots of oil.
This also protects the environment, because it doesn’t require any destruction of forests and wildlife habitats (as is the case for many other biofuels).
- Whiskey Biofuel to Power Cars (SkyNews) — Watch the video!
- Scot Scientists Create Car Biofuel From Whiskey By-Products (PhysOrg)