New Scottish biobutanol producer

The blog previously posted in August 2010 about these researchers from the Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland who have have developed biobutanol using whisky byproducts for feedstock.

It turns out that a few a weeks ago, these researchers launched a new company called Celtic Renewables to commercialize their biobutanol process for biofuel application after receiving government funding at each stage of their product development.

Celtic Renewables’ initial research project received £267,000 from Scottish Enterprise’s Proof of Concept Programme, as well as a £70,000 Scottish Enterprise SMART: Scotland grant to assist the technology scale-up and commercial feasibility.

The company’s production process can also produce acetone and ethanol as well as high grade sustainable animal feed, and based by this, I’m guessing their process is via acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation route, which produces n-butanol.

Celtic Renewables is now working with Scottish Enterprise to produce the biofuel on an industrial scale using two main by-products of whisky production – ‘pot ale’, the liquid from the copper stills, and ‘draff’, the spent grains.

According to the company, Scotland’s £4 billion malt whisky industry produces 1.6bn liters of pot ale and 500,000 tonnes of draff each year.

Doug Ward, founder of Scotland’s largest biofuel producer, Argent Energy, has been appointed as chairman of the start-up, which has secured significant private investment from Adelphi Distillery co-owner, Donald Houston.

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