You’re not misreading this title, whiskey by-products really do have the potential to become the biofuel of the future. Research from Edinburgh Napier University is suggesting that the by-products from the distillation process of whiskey have the ability to fuel cars and even aviation. The process produces two main by-products: “pot ale”, the liquid from copper stills, and “draft”, the spent grains. These two waste products are produced in huge quantities due to the £4 billion ($6.2 billion) whiskey industry- the spirit that drives the Scottish economy.
Even more exciting is that this biofuel has the ability to completely replace ethanol- a biofuel that is created directly from growing crops, mainly corn. In other words, individuals must grow food in order to make ethanol, thereby reducing landmass that instead could be used to help feed a world that is already overpopulated. Butanol, the final product from the method which utilizes already existent waste, gives off 30% more power output than traditional biofuel ethanol. Additionally, it can be utilized in conventional cars without adapting their engines.
What else could you ask for? Not only does this process utilize the waste from a huge industry, but it is more powerful than ethanol and can be used without changing conventional engines. Even better, we don’t need to grow food for its use and take away from land mass that could be utilized to feed society.
This is the type of creativity I hope to see more of. Our energy future will not have one easy solution, but instead utilize many forms of alternative energy. Who knows, maybe whiskey will lead the way within the biofuel industry. So next time you pour yourself a double on the rocks, just think that one day that waste could be powering your car.