Image credit: Future Atlas/Creative Commons
The food versus fuel debate already has many people worried that we can't feed the world and power our cars. but some folks are claiming we can power (some of) our cars, feed the world and have a drink in the process. Karin already reported on Scottish efforts to create biofuels from byproducts of distilling, and now it looks like such efforts are paying off. The resulting fuel may even offer significant performance improvements over regular ethanol. According to The Guardian, scientists at Edinburg Napier University have been using by-products—known as "pot ale" and draff— from the Glenkinchie Whisky Distillery in East Lothian to produce a viable biofuel. And as if that wasn't cause enough for celebration, the researchers claim that the fuel could be available at the pump within a few years, can be used in any regular gasoline engine, and even provides significant power output advantages compared to regular ethanol:
"The new method developed by the team produces butanol, which gives 30% more power output than the traditional biofuel ethanol. It is based on a 100-year-old process that was originally developed to produce butanol and acetone by fermenting sugar. The team has adapted this to use whiskey by-products as a starting point and has filed for a patent to cover the new method. It plans to create a spin-out company to commercialise the invention."
If these folks pull it off, I'd imagine there will be plenty of treehugging motorists lining up to buy them a drink. Cheers.