By David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor
Leave it to Scots to come up with a way to actually improve upon one of the best inventions in the history of mankind.
Scotland produces approximately 150 million liters (about 50 million gallons, give or take) of their wonderful whiskey every year, raking in about $6.24 billion.
According to DailyTech, “that production leads to a lot of byproducts -- which largely are discarded.” Until now, that is: “Researchers at the Edinburgh Napier University have cooked up a method to end that waste, instead turning two of the main byproducts -- ‘pot ale,’ the liquid from the copper stills, and ‘daff,’ the spent grains – into biofuels.”
Tonic.com reports that “The team believes that their new whiskey-fuel will not only be able to power cars in the near future, but aircrafts as well, and act as the base for solvents such as acetone.”
And no, this isn’t an ethanol redux. Death to ethanol, one of the worst-conceived products of your lifetime, which continues to exist only -- only -- because corn-drenched Iowa holds the first presidential primary. Butanol is generally considered a more useful biofuel in no small part because it can be blended into gasoline “at any ratio without special engine considerations,” and “delivers 30 percent more power by volume than ethanol,” according to DailyTech.
Professor Martin Tangney, who led the project, says "What people need to do is stop thinking 'either or'; people need to stop thinking like for like substitution for oil. That's not going to happen. Different things will be needed in different countries."
Sure -- German cars will run on beer, Italian cars on grappa, French cars on wine, Greek cars on ouzo...
Researchers think they can get a liter of biofuel per liter of whisky -- “production waste far outweighs the current product,” DailyTech says -- so the industry “could eventually produce almost 1 million barrels of butanol per year,” with 158 liters in a standard barrel of oil.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet.