Tangney, a scientist at Edinburgh Napier University, is best known for developing a method to convert the residues of the whisky industry into an advanced sustainable biofuel called biobutanol, which can be used as a direct replacement for petrol, providing a sustainable disposal route for the by-products of the distilling process.
He is the founder and president of biofuel firm Celtic Renewables, which is building a “ground-breaking” sustainable biofuel plant in Grangemouth.
The honorary OBE was presented during a ceremony at Edinburgh City Chambers by Lord-Lieutenant Frank Ross.
Tangney, who hails from County Cork, joins previous Irish recipients including F1’s Eddie Jordan and Hollywood actor Pierce Brosnan.
He said: “I am delighted to be presented this award in Edinburgh, as this is where I have made my career and if I in any way at all deserve an OBE it is only because of my work in Scotland.
“I hope that I represent the strong Irish diaspora here who have been contributing to Scottish society in so many ways, for so many years, in our shared heritage and I will continue to do my best to remain worthy of this tremendous accolade.”
Lord-Lieutenant Ross said Tangney’s “innovative” biofuel has made industry ripples around the world. He added: “This medal recognises the lasting and meaningful impact on engineering and technology he has made.”