Whisky: a possible diesel replacement?

Glenfiddich, a popular Scotch whisky brand, wants to use the organic leftovers from distilling the spirit to create fuel for its trucks

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Glenfiddich truck can run on whisky-derived biogas

Obtaining sustainable fuels from nature is nothing new, and there are already several brands, such as Geely or Audi, who have been working on the research and development of new synthetic fuels that use organic waste or even volcanic lava as a source of energy to obtain fuel in a sustainable way for some time.

What no one had yet seen coming is that whisky could be turned into a fuel for trucks. The idea came from Glenfiddich, a very famous distillery for its whisky, which produces in the small town of Dufftown, in the northeast of Scotland, and has developed a system that can convert the remains, waste and leftovers from the production and distillation of whisky into synthetic fuel for their delivery trucks.

Glenfiddich's biogas trucks emit up to 90 per cent less CO2

The Scottish company has tested this fuel with three trucks of its delivery and distribution fleet, and has achieved a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to other alternative fuels and low emissions such as LPG, which means saving 250 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per truck per year. However, it should be borne in mind that to make these calculations the company has added the neutralised carbon dioxide throughout the growth cycle of the malt plants necessary to obtain whisky: what is indisputable is that the distillation process makes it possible to use the leftovers or waste from the production of Scotch whisky to make alternative fuel.

The process of producing this fuel is relatively simple, since the organic leftovers from the malting and distilling of the whisky are deposited in special containers, mixed with different bacteria that cause the organic matter to decompose and thus obtain the biogas to move the distribution trucks.

The more than 14 million bottles of whisky produced annually by the distillery are enough to generate enough organic waste and residues to feed the 30 trucks in its fleet throughout the year, and it still obtains a surplus of fuel that could be sold to other distilleries in the area, provided they have trucks that are compatible with alternative fuels such as this whisky-derived biogas.