Cheers! Scottish team concocts whiskey car fuel

No, they aren't wasting your favorite vice: The butanol fuel is made from whiskey by-products that would otherwise be discarded.

The world's largest whiskey collection in Edinburgh, Scotland. Don't worry, eager biofuels researchers won't be raiding it. CC: Flickr user Danny Nicholson

Alcohol has no place behind the wheel of a car, but a team of Scottish scientists believe it might be perfect for the fuel tank: Researchers at Edinburgh Napier University's Biofuel Research Center, according to a report in Sky News, say they have successfully used whiskey by-products to form a butanol biofuel.

Lovers of fine scotch and bourbon may rest assured that this fuel is made from by-products, not the whiskey itself, so that no potable spirits are being put to waste.

The researchers' formula combines pot ale, which is a fluid coming from distillery equipment, with the grains left over from the production of whiskey. Oddly enough, Sky News added that it's derived from a process that was used to manufacture explosives during World War I and II (yikes--let's hope this fuel goes through extensive safety testing), and that butanol fuels can be up to 25 percent more efficient than their better-known ethanol siblings.

Some start-ups and researchers have highlighted the amusing correlation between drinkable alcohol and experimental biofuels , with one company, E-Fuel, even unveiling its home ethanol generators at a bar and claiming that you could technically dump tequila into them to produce fuel --explaining on a more serious note that early experiments in alcohol-based biofuels had been curtailed by the onset of Prohibition legislation.

Last year, beer manufacturer Sierra Nevada Brewing entered into a partnership with E-Fuel to start testing the use of beer by-products as feedstock for ethanol fuel.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.


Discuss Cheers! Scottish team concocts whiskey car...

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Articles from CNET
I, robot, take this other robot to be my wedded wife