Napier professor picks up OBE for biofuel produced from whisky by-products

Edinburgh-based biofuel and sustainability expert Martin Tangney has been awarded an honorary OBE for his services to engineering and energy.

Edinburgh Napier University scientist Martin Tangney receiving his OBE from Lord-Lieutenant Frank Ross. Picture: Ashley Coombes
Edinburgh Napier University scientist Martin Tangney receiving his OBE from Lord-Lieutenant Frank Ross. Picture: Ashley Coombes

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”