Scientists Created a Whisky That Can Power Your Car

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Scientists Created a Whisky That Can Power Your Car

Whiskey, the liquid that powers your night, can now power your car, too. In early July, researchers held the first successful test run of a car run on a biofuel made from whisky (the Scotch kind, without the “e”) residue.

The fuel is called biobutanol, and it’s made from the barley kernels (called draff) that are left over from fermentation. Biobutanol runs in any car that runs on gas and diesel, and, according to the BBC, you can’t even tell the difference when driving on the fuel.

Alternative fuel has become big business. Volvo recently made the decision to only produce hybrids or electric vehicles by 2019, Ford has made a major push for clean transportation, and Tesla — and all-electric company — was briefly the most valuable car company in the U.S. in 2017.

But there’ll be a middle ground before people drive electric cars without combustion engines. That’s where biofuels come in. Biofuels can be the middle ground between an entirely clean vehicle and the present day (and help the world achieve climate change goals set by the Parris Climate Accord in the process). The process also uses a byproduct that would otherwise come out as waste.

The biobutonal was created by Celtic Renewables Ltd. in Scotland in conjunction with Perthshire’s Tullibardine Distillery.

“What we developed was a process to combine the liquid with the solid, and used an entirely different traditional fermentation process called ABE, and it makes the chemical called biobutanol,” Martin Tangney, the found and president of Celtic Renewables, told the BBC. “And that is a direct replacement, here and now, for petrol.”

The test run was held, naturally, in Scotland, one of the most famous whisky regions in the world. The company believes it create make a £100 million industry, and the government gave the company £9 million to build a demonstrator plant in Scotland.

From there, they could go anywhere. The U.S. produces some 37 million cases of whiskey every year, Canada produces around 21 million, and Ireland produces around 7 million, according to Whisky Invest Direct. That’s a lot of potential whiskey fuel for some very thirsty cars.


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