Wednesday, 18 August 2010

A Wee Dram for the Road...

...well not literally as I don't want to be seen encouraging drink driving. No what I'm talking about is the fact that Scottish scientist have found a way to turn "pot ale" and "draff" into biofuel.

For those who have yet to go on a distillery tour the pot ale is the liquid from the cooper still and the draff is the spent grains. Therefore they are by products of the whisky industry, things that would otherwise just be disposed of.

The scientists from Napier University found they could make Butanol from the two main by-products at Glenkinchie Distillery*. There are copious amounts of both produced in the distilleries across Scotland, and cars do not need to adapt in any way to run on Butanol.

The main concern about some of the biofuels that are produced is that the organic material that is needed to produce this is a primary source and the planting of it takes up valuable arable land that could be being used to feed people. However, as the Napier scientists have discovered a use for otherwise thrown away products is the direction that biofuels should be looking. What organic waste is not going into either human or animal consumption anyway that could be used to this end? We can't start planting the developing world to grow crops for our fuel while they starve.

* Yes, I have toured this East Lothian distillery in my tasting travels.


  1. cynicalHighlander18 August 2010 at 22:22

    They are not truly waste as the draff is used in cattle feed and the pot ale goes through a bio plant to remove most of the heavy metals before being spread on the land as fertilizer.

    The problem with all biofuels using plant material is that they use up a lot of energy to convert into an infereer fuel. Calorie in to calorie out? Would see any gain if any.

  2. A small glass is what the Scottish people call love their favorite drink. Wee means small and Dram is a measure of spirits. A small glass, a glass filled with alcohol distilled in Scotland and a small glass wee is synonymous with a full glass of whisk(e)y.
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