Scotland biofuel company to build whisky residue biofuel plant

By Tim Albrecht | December 18, 2017

A Scottish biofuel start-up, Celtic Renewables, plans to build a commercial demonstration plant in Grangemouth, which will produce over 500,000 liters (132,000 gallons) of biofuel annually, according to a press release.

The company established a new public limited company—Celtic Renewables Grangemouth PLC—to assist in the construction of the plant and has launched a funding campaign seeking $7.25 million through an investment with Abundance Investment.

“This is a very exciting time for biotechnology in Scotland,” said Martin Tangney, Celtic Renewables founder and president. “Our plant, which will use entirely sustainable raw materials to make high-value, low-carbon products, will be the first of its kind in the world. It will shine a global spotlight on innovation in Scotland in the low-carbon economy.”

The plant, based on a two-acre site, will produce biobutanol, a biofuel produced from draff, the sugar-rich kernels of barley that are soaked in water to facilitate the fermentation process necessary for whisky production, and pot ale, the yeasty liquid left over following distillation.

“This is a huge step forward for Celtic Renewables as this demonstration plant will enable the roll out of the technology at full industrial scale across Scotland and internationally,” said Mark Simmers, CEO of Celtic Renewables.

Celtic Renewables unveiled its “whisky fuel” in 2015 after developing it process as part of a United Kingdom government program. The biofuel was later tested in a car in 2017 as part of the company’s push to revolutionize sustainable transport.

Working closely with Tullibardine Distillery, Celtic plans to put residues of Scotland’s Malt Whisky industry to good use by converting the industries annual production of 750,000 metric tons (827,000 tons) of draff and 2 billion liters of pot ale into biofuel and other low carbon products.

With planning permissions now in place, building of the commercial demonstrator plant is due to begin in early 2018.