When it comes to alcohol, whisky is one of the most popular spirits shipped around the world. However, it isn’t exactly environmentally friendly, and that’s because it produces a lot of waste called, “Draff.”
According to Zero Waste Scottland, every year, 684,000 metric tons of draff are produced as a direct result of Whisky production. So what is draff? It is a solid by-product that is usually a moist grain.
Normally, draff is either used in animal feed, ends up in a landfill, or even gets dumped in rivers or the ocean. However, Celtic Renewables has another solution: turning it into a biofuel that can power your car.
And since draff is not exclusive to whisky, there’s a lot of potential.
Growing Interest In Biofuels
There’s no denying that when gas prices go up, more people start to look at viable alternatives. Biofuels are nothing new, but they have struggled to compete with gasoline due to how inexpensive it was in comparison, but that’s not the case at the moment.
Thus, when oil prices go up so significantly, biofuels become a much more attractive option. And the truth is that it’s basically been that way since the beginning of the automobile. Even Henry Ford said biofuels were the “fuel of the future.”
However, they still are not popular options today, and it simply comes down to the cost. But their other advantages are starting to outweigh that.
For example, biofuels are not as volatile as oil because anyone can grow the necessary materials. This also lowers the influence one nation may have over another because they won’t be overly reliant on them for a specific export.
An even bigger reason is the emissions they produce. While biofuels are not a carbonless solution, the carbon they emit is natural. You see when plants grow, they actually absorb carbon and store it within them.
This is what makes planting trees so effective at offsetting emissions.
Thus, when the fuel is burned, those emissions are released back into the atmosphere. It’s no different than when the plant decomposes naturally. As a result, interest in biofuels is rising very fast.
Whisky Draff Is Another Step Towards A Circular Economy
One of the most important things we need to do as a society is to become a circular economy, but what does that mean?
Simply put, a circular economy is one in which society relies more heavily on sharing, reusing, repairing/refurbishing, and recycling materials to avoid creating new ones when possible. This also means finding a use for by-products during production.
Thus whisky draff is actually a perfect example of this in action.
Instead of all of this by-product ending up in a landfill or ocean, we can put it to good use powering our vehicles. Even using it as animal feed is a better alternative than just dumping it, and that’s the beauty of this new discovery.
The technology can be expanded upon to other sectors like dairy. The end goal is a society where waste is very minimal.
Everything should have a use or a second life.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.