Leave it to Scotland to find a reason to make more whisky. A new research project at the University of Abertay Dundee could make it possible for cars of the future to run on fuel made from the by-products of brewing and distilling booze.
Researchers in Abertay’s School of Contemporary Sciences have been awarded a Carnegie Trust Research Grant to investigate turning residues from beer and whisky processes into biofuel.
The year long project will look at new methods of turning spent grain into bioethanol, a more environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels. And a lot more fun in the lab.
The main advantages of bioethanol over traditional fuels is that it is CO2 neutral, it produces 65% less greenhouse gas emissions and because it burns at a higher temperature it is better for fire safety, say the researchers. They're right, in a bubble. Blocking out the emissions needed for growing and processing biofuel along with the loss of the bio-materials' CO2 absorption, bioethanol is indeed better.
Using leftover material from distilleries makes bioethanol a little more practical because the primary environmental impact has already been felt.
Professor Graeme Walker said: “Scientists all over the world are trying to find a simple and cost effective way to produce more biofuels from waste or low value products.
“The supply of fossil fuels is finite – some estimates suggest that around half of the world’s oil reserves have been used up in the last 200 years - and the race is on to find more environmentally friendly alternatives.
“Brazil and the USA have both been very successful in creating bioethanol from sugarcane and maize starch respectively. Between them these countries produce over 70% of global supplies.
“The US has overtaken Brazil in production but Brazil remains the largest exporter, sending around 3.2 billion litres abroad last year alone.
“However the methods used in these countries are open to criticism since they create an increased demand for land for growing energy crops.
“In countries like Brazil this may also threaten tropical forests and perhaps cancel out any benefits from using biofuels.
“Our research will be looking at the far more complicated process of turning waste products from industry into bioethanol as an example of a second-generation biofuel.
“These products are currently disposed of or processed for animal feed and turning them into fuel would be an attractive use of the resource.
“At the moment many technical challenges remain to converting waste biomass into fuel. We will focus on finding more efficient and cost effective processes.”
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Muslim Hijab Linked To Less Negative Body Image Among Women
- Tax And Spend Policies Could Make You Eat Healthier
- Neil Tyson On The Politics Of Science Denial
- Corals: Not So Passive, They Are Nature's Tiny Engineers
- Mutating Ebola Viruses Not As Scary As Evolving Ones
- Created: Renewable Propane Using E.coli
- Global 'Roadmap' Shows Where To Put Roads Without Costing The Earth
- "Your obsession with Dr. Oz seems really odd if you have never crossed paths. I much prefer..."
- "Hi Josh, Like you, I have never watched Dr. O$$. I rank him somewhere between Maury Povich and..."
- "Odds are it also makes the men who are in such societies less concerned with how a woman looks..."
- "Thanks for this balanced article on 'e-cigarettes'. However it was a bit annoying to hear the author..."
- "I really wish some of you brave anon commentators would register stand and be counted. ..."
- Protein in plasma may one day change transfusions
- Maternal low protein diet promotes diabetic phenotypes in offspring
- Study indicates that the hippocampus mediates cognitive decline in Huntington's disease
- Discharged patients return to the ER because 'better safe than sorry'
- NASA satellites calling here you come again, Tropical Storm Dolly