For the last few months I have been learning about yeast while experimenting with the production of country wines and related alcoholic beverages. How to use yeast for possible home production of fuel for combustion engines has been part of my study.
Today I was delighted to see the following article:
"Now that's drink driving! Distillery turns WHISKY by-products into biofuel for cars":
"Whisky-making can be a wasteful business.
More than 1.6 billion litres of pot ale, and half a million metric tonnes of ‘draff’ are produced as by-products each year - and the majority is thrown away.
Now a firm in Scotland wants to put this waste to good use to power our cars, feed our animals and even make plastics.
Edinburgh-based Celtic Renewables was formed in 2011.
It has spent the past three years refining its recycling process based on a century-old fermentation technique, and is now taking the next step toward a commercial plant, according to the American Chemical Society.
Making whisky requires three ingredients - water, yeast and a grain, primarily barley.
But only 10 per cent of the output is alcohol that can be sold.
The main waste products include a residual solid called draff, and a yeast-based liquid known as pot ale.
Pot all is the copper-containing liquid created by the stills, and draff is made up of used barley grains.
This waste is spread on agricultural lands, turned into low-grade animal feed or discarded into the sea.
Rather than inefficiently re-using these materials or letting them go to waste, Celtic Renewables has taken an old industrial process developed to turn molasses and other sugars into chemicals, and fine-tuned it to convert draff and pot ale into acetone, biobutanol and ethanol...." (End excerpt)
The Celtic Renewables website is at:
The above photo and the following excerpt are from from the Celtic Renewables website:
"The technology being developed by Celtic Renewables is an innovation of the ABE Fermentation Process which was invented in the run-up to the First World War. The technology was then used for decades to produce solvents, and was one of the largest biological industries in the world until the 1960s when it declined significantly due to the inability to compete with the Petrochemical industry. Hence the process has been long established at industrial scale, and in instances of closed economies such as South Africa, Russia and China where sufficient supplies of crude oil were not available or subject to economic embargoes, the production of biofuel has continued as a viable industry up until recent times. The technology can be readily adapted for re-introduction in a modern biotechnology context and the rare expertise in the ABE process at Celtic Renewables gives the company a strategic position and competitive advantage in the field of biobutanol development."
In the following video, "Recognized iChemE international award recipient for "Innovator of the Year," Professor Martin Tangney shares his process of developing biofuel from the by-products of one of Scotland's largest industries, the Malt Whisky industry":
To make the biobutanol developments even more welcome, earlier this year a study of the consequential damages of petroleum extraction from the area sometimes referred to as the Alberta Oil Sands finally confirmed that more problems exist than were previously disclosed.
"Environmental health risks of Alberta oil sands likely underestimated: study"
The study, by the University of Toronto’s environmental chemistry research group, looked at reported levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) — chemicals which can be released into the air, water and soil when bitumen-rich oilsands are mined and processed.
“Our study shows that emissions of PAH estimated in environmental impact assessments conducted to approve developments in the Athabasca oilsands region are likely too low,” reads the study published Monday in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The potential therefore exists that estimation of future risk to humans and wildlife because of surface mining in the Athabasca oilsands region has been underestimated.” (End excerpt)
More information can be found at the Pembina Institute website:
"Key Facts In Context" is at:
"Losing Ground Why the problem of oilsands tailings waste keeps growing" is available at:
"In 2009, new rules were released by Alberta’s energy regulator to help manage growing volumes of toxic tailings waste from oilsands mining. As of 2013, not a single company is complying with those rules.
Regulations not enforced
In June 2013, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (now the Alberta Energy Regulator) released long-overdue tailings compliance reports. Surprisingly, the summary report reveals that from 2011 to 2012, not a single mining operator was in compliance with the rules managing the reduction of liquid tailings lakes in the oilsands. And yet the regulator has said that it will not enforce penalties or fines on the operators — it was simply “overly optimistic” when it set those targets in 2009....
Tailings are stored in large settling basins, referred to as tailings lakes, which cover approximately 176 square kilometres of the landscape. Typically, tailings lakes account for between 30 to 50 per cent of a mine’s total footprint.2
The current volume held in these lakes is approximately 830 million cubic meters.3 Regulators have already approved the production of 2.4 million barrels of bitumen per day through mining.4 For each barrel produced, 1.5 barrels of tailings waste will be added to the landscape.5 Accordingly, approved minable production would produce 1.4 billion barrels of tailings by 2022.
Reclamation: no easy task
Government reports that less than 10 per cent of disturbed lands from oilsands mining are in the process of being reclaimed.6 Approximately 715 square kilometres of land has been disturbed by oilsands mining activity, and 71 square kilometres of disturbed lands are in the process of being reclaimed. To date, only 0.2 per cent of the land disturbed by oilsands development is certified as reclaimed and therefore returned to Albertans. This small 104-hectare site was never mined, did not include tailings, and is therefore not representative of the looming reclamation challenges that lie ahead...." (End excerpts)
The above image of huge toxic tailings waste lakes and other images from Pembina Institute are available at:
Biobutanol or petroleum from oil sands? May the biobutanol win.
Please feel free to add relevant information.