Close Menu

Whisky fuel scientist wins prestigious award

The scientist who pioneered a way to convert whisky waste into biofuel has been named Innovator of the Year.

Martin Tangney Celtic Renewables whisky biofuel
Martin Tangney, founder of Celtic Renewables has pioneered a way to turn whisky waste into biofuel

Scientist professor Martin Tangney was honoured for his work to create a sustainable use for whiskey waste by the Institute of Chemical Engineering.

Tangney’s company Celtic Renewables has been hailed for developing the technology to produce biobutanol from the by-products of whisky production.

The Edinburgh-based company began working with Tullibardine Distillery in Perthshire, Scotland in September to make it the first whisky distillery in the world to convert its whisky waste matter into biofuel that can power vehicles running on petrol and diesel.

The distillery disposes of 97% of its by-products after production, including draff (barley kernels) and pot ale (yeast residue).

Tangney received the award over other leading scientists nominated from around the world for their ‘outstanding contribution to scientific advancement’.

“This shows that companies and scientists in Scotland are still leading the way with innovation, particularly in the renewable energy sector,” he said.

Dr Sandy Dobbie, chairman of Chemical Sciences Scotland, the strategic partnership of the chemical industry, Scotland’s universities and its government agencies, said: “Martin is a classic example of the entrepreneurial spirit that constantly drives innovation in our £10 billion chemical sector, which is second only to whisky in Scotland’s exports.

“His IChemE Innovation award is richly deserved as his pioneering approach to converting distillery byproducts into biobutanol is a real technology breakthrough developed right here in Scotland”.

Celtic Renewables is no undertaking commercial trials of the process, with input from Tullibardine Distillery at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) at Redcar in Teeside.

It’s estimated that around 500,000 tonnes of draff and two billion litres of pot ale are produced by Scottish distilleries every year.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No