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Innovation Award for Pioneering Biofuel Firm

Published: Thursday, December 13, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, December 13, 2012
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A Pioneering Edinburgh-based company has been awarded for their work developing fuel from whisky.

Celtic Renewables - a spin out firm from Edinburgh Napier University - landed the coveted title of “Best Innovation” for their sustainable biofuel product, at the Scottish Green Energy Awards.

Founded by Professor Martin Tangney, Director of the Biofuel Research Centre at Edinburgh Napier, the company has developed a process which transforms the two main by-products of whisky production, ‘pot ale’ and ‘draff’, in to biofuel.

Unlike other biofuels, the biobutanol produced from whisky residues can be used as a direct replacement for petrol, without the need to modify a vehicle’s engine.

Celtic Renewables recently signed a major deal with Tullibardine Distillery in Perthshire, which will see the malt whisky producer becoming the first in the world to have its by-products converted into commercial fuel.

Professor Tangney said: “We are truly honoured and thrilled to receive this incredible accolade.

Professor Tangney continued, “Scotland is leading the way in the renewables industry and we are delighted to be part of a sector supporting jobs and boosting the economy.”

The prize was awarded to the Celtic Renewables team by Adrian Gillespie, senior director of energy and low carbon technologies at Scottish Enterprise, who said: "Celtic Renewables is a very worthy winner of the award for Best Innovation at this year's Scottish Green Energy Awards. The company has come a long way since spinning out from Edinburgh Napier University only two years ago and is already a leading light in biofuel innovation."

The Scottish Green Energy Awards, held at the National Museum of Scotland on Thursday 6th December, celebrated the success of the Scottish renewables industry.

Business Secretary Vince Cable delivered a keynote speech at the event, telling the 1,000 strong audience: “The UK is a world leader in green energy, and Scotland is at the heart of this.
“The industry supports thousands of jobs and investment is on track to top £1 billion in 2012. This has been facilitated by collaboration in our universities and research institutes, commitment at all levels of government and business to secure investment and the hard work of those drilling piles and assembling kit in the North Sea.”

Other winners on the night included Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who were awarded ‘Best Public Sector Initiative’, MSP Rob Gibson SNP who won ‘Best Politician’, and founder of All-Energy, Judith Patten, who was recognized for her outstanding contribution to the industry.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “The winners reflect the huge strength we have in Scotland’s homegrown renewable energy sector , in our supply chain and in the individuals that have all worked incredibly hard to make it another successful year for the industry.

“The fact the Scottish Green Energy Awards has grown by some 50 per cent in just three years is also testament of the growth of the industry to become what is one of the largest corporate award ceremonies in the country.

“The renewables industry has a lot to celebrate and the Scottish Green Energy Awards is a great way for us to do just that.”

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