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UK government invests £11m in whisky-fuelled cars

Celtic Renewables has landed an £11million grant from the Department for Transport (DfT) to help build the world’s first plant dedicated to producing biofuel from whisky waste.

DfT Picture 2 copy
Biofuel is made using draff and pot ale from whisky production

The Edinburgh-based company were the champions of an initiative run by the government department to invest in transport technology; the DfT’s Advanced Biofuels Demonstration competition.

The funding will be used to build a facility that can produce at least one million litres of biofuel every year through acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation, and the company aim to be operational by December 2018.

Biofuel is produced from draff, the sugar-rich kernels of barley which are soaked in water to facilitate the fermentation process in whisky production; and pot ale, the copper-containing yeasty liquid that is left over after distillation.

Professor Martin Tangney, the company’s founder and President, said: “We are committed to developing a new industry in the UK that will be worth more than £100million-a-year and it starts here.

“We have already attracted investment and partners in the private sector and this funding announced today will allow us to scale-up to industrial production.

“Our next step is to open a demonstration facility and we are targeting a location in or near Grangemouth which is an area that’s strategically right for us.”

The company is one of three advanced biofuel producers to share in a £25million funding pot – the others are Nova Pangaea, which produces biofuel from forestry waste, and Advanced Plasma Products.

Andrew Jones, the UK Transport Minister, said: “This is a great example of the UK government’s commitment to innovative transport technology and supporting jobs and growth.

“Biofuels have an important role to play in keeping Britain moving forward in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way.

“This £25 million is not only a vital investment in technology that will help secure a greener future but will also help support the creation of thousands of jobs.”

“Advanced biofuels have the potential to save at least 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions from the equivalent fossil fuel.”

Earlier this year the company received investment worth a total of £500,000 from the Scottish Investment Bank and an equity stake acquired by an existing private investor.

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