Saturday, April 20, 2013

Whiskey Waste to Biofuels - Sustainable Whiskey Production

That cliche - TGIF - Thank God it's Friday -  comes to mind.  Time for something a little more light hearted, although it is actually a serious topic.

The European Parliament's TV channel has published a video looking at a project in Scotland which is aiming to produce high value fuels and products such as biobutanol from the whisky industry's waste.

According to the report around 97% of the products that are used to make whiskey in the distillation process end up as waste, which at the Tullibardine Distillery in Perthshire has to be discarded at a cost of some €293,000 per year.  That is a significant amount of money, so there is money available to invest in something better.  And that is just one whiskey distillery - think of the fact that there are many more in Scotland.

The report explains that while much of this waste has traditionally been recycled as fertiliser and animal feed, the recovery of far more valuable products such as biobutanol – a next generation biofuel – can be produced by refermenting whiskey industry by-products.

According to Mark Simmers, managing director of Celtic Renewable, the idea is to take two low value commodities, or residues and convert them into five or six high value products, including acetone.

The report said that while scaling the five litre lab model up to a 10,000 litre working plant will cost millions, Celtic Renewables is in talks with large companies such as drinks industry giant Diageo and hopes to have a plant in operation by the end of this year.

Reminds me of the story on this blog last year about sustainable rum production.  See the story here:

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