Whisky Co-Products; the extra bits & bobs. Part 4 (Biofuel)


Exhausted (Photo credit: Harshad Sharma)

This, I swear, is the last I’ll write about the plethora of extras created during the whisky making process. Next week, your brain will feel like it’s on vacation. No charts, no graphs, no links to the dictionary to further understand the convoluted terms and long-winded jargon. There’ll be nothing about draff. Not a spot about pot ale. No words on water wisdom. Just morsels of speech about spirits. Deal?

But since this is still not next week, we’re going to appreciate the legion of clever clods out there in the science world who have earned themselves a heartfelt toast of our admiration.

Robotic Scion car

Robotic Scion car (Photo credit: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious)

It seems our smart cars are growing smarter. As the auto industry continues to strive for improved safety standards, better gas mileage and self-guided cars, the whisky industry have now tossed their hats into the ring and offered up an alternative to fuel. Instead of guzzling through gallons of gas, automobiles will slake their thirst with the spent lees of spirits.

To be precise, the high sugar content in left-over draff and pot ale has been matched up with a sugar-crazed bacteria. In exchange for its “all access pass to Candy Land,” it will spin some gold in the form of beautiful butanol. According to studies from Napier University‘s Biofuel Research Centre (BfRC), the specific bacteria has been tested and the results of its feast can be used as a direct replacement for vehicle fuel.

The in-laws of this marriage are the parents of our sugar daddy and bacterial babe, both located in a country that worships its whisky and pushes to salvage, convert and reuse its resources to award winning levels. Tullibardine Distillery in Perthshire, Scotland will offer up the spoils. Tons of it. Literally. And Celtic Renewables, a spin-off company born from Napier University in Edinburgh, will provide the labs, the scientists, the break room for these scientists, but most importantly, the bacteria. Click here for a short three minute video to gain a clear understanding of the project and its possibilities.

English: Gasoline pump

English: Gasoline pump (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, the spirit world is stretching out of liquids and into lab coats, but cutting ideas or not, industry leaders warn that making biofuel from whisky will not make siphoning gas any more palatable. So take heed.

And now, enjoy your new knowledge, the peek behind the tour route and a look-see at the crossroads of industry and innovation. Wave to a cow, dig into that fish, swim in that pool and go honk your horn. Do it all in the name of liquid gold and green technology. Not only do these colors complement one another, they give a rosy glow to all of our futures.


Don’t forget to check out what I blethered on about this week on the main post page (here) and find out what’s cookin’ in the scullery too (here)!


3 thoughts on “Whisky Co-Products; the extra bits & bobs. Part 4 (Biofuel)

  1. hmmm. i (‘d) like to say “ain’t science (‘n tech) wundurful” and MEAN IT. someday. you hopefully have introduced the reader to a hopefully-soon-to-happen such day.

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