Tullibardine whisky distillery has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Celtic Renewables, an Edinburgh-based company, under which Celtic will use whisky by-products to produce advanced biofuel to power vehicles.

Celtic Renewables had initially developed the technology to produce biobutanol from the by-products of whisky production at the Biofuel Research Centre (BfRC) at Edinburgh Napier University.

Based on that technology, Celtic now plans to build a processing plant in Scotland with the help of £155,000 grant from Zero Waste Scotland and produce the fuel.

The plant can contribute towards the Scotland government’s target to reduce carbon emissions by 42% and towards European Union mandated biofuel target of 10% by 2020.

The technology will help the Perthshire-based independent malt whisky producer Tullibardine reduce its £250,000 spending on disposals of the whisky by-products which include 6,500 tonnes of draff and two million litres of pot ale.

Tullibardine managing director Douglas Ross said the company is happy to be partnering with Celtic Renewables, the obvious benefits of which are environmental.

"It takes a cost to us and turns it into something that has social as well as commercial value," Ross added.

Zero Waste Scotland director Iain Gulland said to become a zero waste society they need to find new, innovative ways of turning wastes and by-products into high-quality products.

"As well as having clear environmental benefits, this project has the potential to lead the way in realising cost savings across Scotland’s whisky industry, unlocking hidden value and helping to boost the economy," Gulland added.

Image: The Tullibardine distillery currently supplies raw materials to help refine the conversion process at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) at Redcar, in Teesside. Photo: Celtic Renewables Ltd.