Celtic Renewables has found a way to turn a byproduct from the creation of whiskey into something even more flammable: fuel. This will greatly lower the wast from whiskey distillation while contributing to the growing field of bio-energy. Neat!
This isn’t the first time someone has thought to turn whiskey waste into energy. A handful of other distilleries, including the American bourbon producer Maker’s Mark, use anaerobic digesters to convert waste into biogas, which is then used to fuel the distilling process—a neat little closed-loop system. But Celtic Renewables’ process creates three useful substances instead of just one.
When I spoke to the company’s founder and chief scientific officer, an Irish industrial microbiologist named Martin Tangney, he excitedly ennumerated the virtues of the byproducts his process produces: As a fuel, biobutanol is 25 percent more efficient than ethanol. Acetone has all kinds of industrial uses—plus, it’s a nail-polish remover. The animal feed is rich in protein.