Celtic Renewables to build whisky residue biofuel plant at Grangemouth

Next chapter of Edinburgh Napier spinout commences

Date posted

12 December 2017


Last updated

10 May 2021

An Edinburgh Napier spinout that has pioneered a new biofuel made from whisky residue has secured planning permission for a state-of-the-art commercial demonstrator plant.

Celtic Renewables has been granted permission to build the new base by Falkirk Council.

Based in Grangemouth, the two-acre site will produce Biobutanol – a new sustainable biofuel made using whisky residue that can be used as a direct replacement for petrol and diesel.

Used in a car for the first time in July 2017, Celtic Renewables has developed the ground-breaking process with a view to revolutionising the sustainable transport industry.

On completion, the plant will allow the company to produce more than half a million litres of biofuel each year.

Company founder and president, Professor Martin Tangney, said: “This is a very exciting time for biotechnology in Scotland.  Our plant, which will use entirely sustainable raw materials to make high value low carbon products, will be the first of its kind in the world. It will shine a global spotlight on innovation in Scotland in the low carbon economy.”

Speaking about the new site, Mark Simmers, CEO of Celtic Renewables, said: “This is a huge step forward for Celtic Renewables as this demonstration plant will enable the roll out of the technology at full industrial scale across Scotland and internationally. Grangemouth is the perfect location for the plant, where we can benefit from the synergies of locating within the national petrochemical hub and work with a range of complementary partners with the full support of local and national Government agencies.”

The power of whisky

The pioneering young company has established a new PLC – Celtic Renewables Grangemouth PLC – specifically to deliver the plant in Grangemouth and has now launched a funding campaign to raise £5.25m through an ISA eligible investment with leading p2p investment platform, Abundance Investment.

Abundance co-founder & managing director Bruce Davis commented: “We champion renewable projects across the UK and Celtic Renewables absolutely fits this remit.  The new demonstrator plant is an exciting step forward for biotechnology innovation for the UK. It is a win win for our investors seeking to diversify their investments in the transition to a clean growth economy.”

With news that the plant will create 25 jobs in the local area, councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council said: “The new Celtic Renewables Grangemouth commercial demonstrator plant is great news for the local economy.

“Celtic Renewables choosing Grangemouth as the location for such an innovative facility is further proof that the Falkirk area is the prime location for Chemical Sciences development in this country and strengthens our imminent bid for growth deal funding to position Falkirk as the manufacturing and innovation hub for Scotland.”

Working closely with Tullibardine Distillery in Perthshire, Celtic Renewables is helping to derive value from the production residues of the Malt Whisky industry in Scotland which currently produces almost 750,000 tonnes of draff and 2 billion litres of pot ale, by converting it into much-needed advanced biofuel and other high value low carbon products.

With planning permissions now in place, building of the commercial demonstrator plant is due to begin in early 2018.

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