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?
- Sexual Fantasies: Threesomes Are Normal, Golden Showers Not So Much
- The Vampire Deer Of Afghanistan
- Resveratrol Reverses Benefits Of Exercise - Study
- Okay With Disgusting Images? You Vote This Way 95 Percent Of The Time
- Cui Bono? B-corporations And The University
- Aging Brains Aren't Necessarily Declining Brains
- Information-Theoretic Security: Creating 21st Century Cryptography Standards
- "It's vital to understand that while crapping where you eat is not linked to having conservative..."
- "16 people who were originally doing less than 30 minutes exercise a day then did how much low volume..."
- "Trouble is without citations this article reads like a slew of anecdotes. It begins promisingly..."
- "Do you work for Hank? Or do you just parrot his line of bullshit, and try to legitimize it with..."
- Two-faced anti-GMO groups: Block crop and food innovations then claim Big Ag prevents GMO innovations
- Why support erodes for GMO labeling (Hint: It’s not because of spending by Big Ag)
- Genetic “hall of mirrors” with large palindromes, yet smaller: What’s mighty about the mouse
- Gut bacteria an easy scapegoat for disease, but connections hard to prove
- Vermont Rube Goldberg-like GMO labeling law exempts GMO filled natural supplements
- Downside to GMOs: Yields have become so good, they exceed processing capacity
- More penalties on the way for hospitals that treat the poor? New U-M study suggests so
- Cancer cell fingerprints in the blood may speed up childhood cancer diagnosis
- Study of Chile earthquake finds new rock structure that affects earthquake rupture
- Tracking a gigantic sunspot across the Sun
- Massive geographic change may have triggered explosion of animal life