Building on a £1.2m financing round, Celtic Renewables partners with a Belgian pilot plant to bring its bio-fuel made from whisky production residue to an industrial scale.
The project is combining the two things that usually do not mix: whisky and cars. Scottish biofuel company Celtic Renewables has launched an agreement with the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP) in Ghent with the aim to turn whisky by-products into biofuel.
Celtic Renewables, a spin-out from the Biofuel Research Centre at Edinburgh Napier University, has successfully shown to have produced biobutanol from draff – the sugar-rich kernels of barley which are soaked in water to facilitate the fermentation process necessary for whisky production – and pot ale, the yeasty liquid that is heated during distillation. But the process that worked within the laboratory now has to be replicated at an industrial scale. Celtic Renewables aims to do just that at the Belgium demonstrator pilot facility, Europe’s first independent open innovation centre for the bio-based economy. The facility specialises in process development, scale-up and custom manufacturing of bio-based products and processes.
The company is hopeful that the cooperation will facilitate the production of the world’s first industrial samples of biobutanol derived from whisky production residues, allowing it to be used as a direct replacement for petrol and diesel, without the need to modify engines. The partnership has been made possible by second round funding worth £1.2m (€1.5m) including more than £800,000 from the UK Government. Michael Fallon, the UK Energy Minister, said: “This novel technology takes the by-products of Scotland’s finest export to power vehicles. DECC’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund was designed to support small and medium-sized businesses like Celtic Renewables to develop state-of-the-art technologies, products and processes that will help us become more energy efficient. This is a prime example of how innovative technology can flourish with the right support.” Professor Martin Tangney, founder and President of Celtic Renewables, said the company is aiming high, planning to become a trailblazer and a company with global reach.