£11m grant to turn whisky into biofuel

Martin Tangney, left, of Celtic Renewables with transport minister Andrew Jones
Martin Tangney, left, of Celtic Renewables with transport minister Andrew Jones
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An Edinburgh spin-out firm has won an £11 million grant to build the world’s first plant focused on generating advanced biofuels from whisky by-products.

Celtic Renewables, spun out from the Biofuel Research Centre at Edinburgh Napier University, said it will use the funding boost to build a facility that will be up and running by the end of 2018, producing at least one million litres of biofuel every year.

Professor Martin Tangney, the company’s founder and president, said the process will allows Celtic Renewables to turn the leftovers from the whisky industry into a fuel source “that contributes to the low-carbon future we all want”.

He added: “We are committed to developing a new industry in the UK that will be worth more than £100 million a year and it starts here.

“We have already attracted investment and partners in the private sector and this funding will allow us to scale up to industrial production.”

Tangney said that Celtic Renewables’ next step was to open a demonstration facility “and we are targeting a location in or near Grangemouth which is an area that’s strategically right for us”.

The £11m grant was announced by Andrew Jones, the UK transport minister, who said a total of three firms had shared £25m through the Department for Transport’s advanced biofuels demonstration competition.

The other winners were Teesside-based Nova Pangaea, which produces biofuel from forestry waste, and Swindon-based Advanced Plasma Products.

Jones said: “Biofuels have an important role to play in keeping Britain moving forward in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way.

“This £25m is not only a vital investment in technology that will help secure a greener future but will also help support the creation of thousands of jobs.”