A century-old process is getting new life in Scotland, as an Edinburgh-based renewables company continues its development of a biofuel made from the residues of the nation’s most recognizable spirit. Crafted from byproducts of whisky production, bio-butanol fell out of favor as a viable competitor to petrochemicals after it was first developed a century ago. But Celtic Renewables hopes to fuel a bio-butanol renaissance of sorts—if it can secure funds from the Department of Transport’s £25 million ($38.4 million) advanced biofuel demonstration competition—up to £12 million ($18.4 million) over three years–it would like to build a demonstration facility in Grangemouth by 2018, reports Aberdeen Business News.
According to Biofuels Digest, Celtic Renewables has been honing its industrial-level processes at a plant in Ghent with the help of more than £800,000 ($1.2 million) from the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s Energy Entrepreneur’s Fund and second-round investment of £410,000 ($630,000) in private equity investment. It received a total of $2 million in Series B funding in June 2014.
It hopes to grow its efforts to a £100 ($153.8) million-a-year industry in the UK.
Bio-butanol is made from the kernels of barley that are soaked in water to start the process of fermentation when making whisky, as well as the liquid left over from distillation, which contains yeast and copper.