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WWI tech turns whisky waste into biofuel

A Scottish company is using ABE fermentation to make ethanol and butanol with pot ale and draff, the byproducts of whisky distillation

Quelle:: Celtic Renewables

A company from Scotland turns the byproducts of whisky distillation into biofuel and animal feed
A company from Scotland turns the byproducts of whisky distillation into biofuel and animal feed

Each year the whisky industry produces 1 600 million litres of pot ale and 500 000 tonnes of draff, the main byproducts of whisky distillation, and the Scottish company Celtic Renewables has found a way to turn them into biofuel.They employ ABE fermentation, a technique used during World War I to make acetone for the production of cordite, a smokeless gunpowder used in firearms.

Only 10 percent of what goes into a still becomes whisky, the rest is draff and pot ale
Only 10 percent of what goes into a still becomes whisky, the rest is draff and pot ale

The pot ale and draff are combined, treated with heat and acids, and then fermented with the help of special bacteria and enzymes. Once this process is complete, the liquid portion of the mixture is removed and distilled into butanol, ethanol and acetone, while leftover solids can be used as animal feed.

Celtic Renewables' research lab
Celtic Renewables' research lab
Celtic Renewables

At the beginning of September, Celtic Renewables earned a grant from the UK Department of Transportation, which will help them build the world's first biofuel plant that uses whisky byproducts.

Professor Martin Tangney, founder of Celtic Renewables
Professor Martin Tangney, founder of Celtic Renewables
Celtic Renewables

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