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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Your car need a top-up?

As the cost of food continues to climb ridiculously, calls for farmers to stop growing crops for fuel are growing.

The argument goes that instead of producing ‘green’ fuel and keeping petrol prices down, the crops should be producing food to feed the hungry and keep food prices low.

But an alternative source of energy could be at hand – whisky.

A ground-breaking deal has been signed to turn by-products from a Scottish distillery into fuel for cars.

And the man behind Cumbria’s first whisky distillery is paying close attention.

In what is claimed to be a world first, the Tullibardine distillery in Perthshire has linked up with a company from Napier University in Edinburgh.

They plan to use bacteria to feed on the ‘leftovers’ from the whisky making process which will produce butanol to fuel vehicles.

More than 90 per cent of what is produced by a distillery is not whisky. It is leftovers like draff (the waste malted barley) and pot ales (the unwanted liquid that is strained off).

Both have traditionally gone into feeding farm animals.

But now Paul Currie is looking at the best way to re-use his unwanted byproducts.

Paul, who will start producing whisky next summer from his distillery in Setmurthy, just next to Bassenthwaite, says: “We know that some big distilleries use waste to provide power through anaerobic digesters.”

“We are looking into that and we have just heard about this and it is very interesting as well,” adds Paul, who will be conducting whisky masterclasses at this weekend’s Taste Cumbria food festival at Cockermouth.

The question is whether his new distillery, expected to produce 300,000 bottles a year, will provide enough waste to produce butanol or fire up a digester.

The way petrol and diesel prices are rising, it might be cheaper to pour litres of whisky into our cars anyway.

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