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BBC World Service

Filling up on whisky: To drive, not drink

Rebecca Singer Aug 18, 2010
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BBC World Service

Filling up on whisky: To drive, not drink

Rebecca Singer Aug 18, 2010
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Researchers at a university in Scotland have developed a hopeful new biofuel. But the technology could raise some questions about driving with alcohol. Literally.

The BBC’s Rebecca Singer reports about how whisky could replace gasoline.


Rebecca Singer: The whisky industry produces vast amounts of waste each year. And a new technology, designed by the team at Edinburgh Napier University, uses that waste to produce a fuel called butanol. Now traditional biofuels require farmers to grow crops specifically for this new purpose — but with whisky, the byproduct’s already there.

Professor Martin Tangney directed the research. He says Scotland’s $6 billion whisky industry is already well known.

Martin Tangney: In Scotland, we already generate this biomass so we’ve got a choice of how we dispose of it. And here’s a way of generating significant fuel from this.

Tangney says it won’t supply the entire world, but it could contribute significantly to European biofuel goals.

The beauty of butanol is that it’s 30 percent more powerful than the most common biofuel ethanol. And you won’t even need to change your car’s gas tank to use it. Plus there will be no concern if you fill up on this stuff at the gas station.

In London, I’m the BBC’s Rebecca Singer for Marketplace.

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