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Using the by-products of whisky production, Celtic Renewables are adding a Scottish flair to the production of sustainable sources of energy.

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By leveraging by-products and organic matter, Scottish start-up Celtic Renewables Ltd is the first in the world to produce biofuel capable of powering cars - using the residues of the whisky industry.

They plan to produce sustainable biobutanol as a direct replacement for fossil road fuel, which could play a substantial role in meeting EU mandated biofuel targets. The company estimates the technology could herald a new era in sustainable biofuels and chemicals and contribute to creating an industry worth £100 million a year.

From the lab to the commercial scale-up

A prime example of how industrial biotechnology innovation can translate into globally viable commercial opportunities, Celtic Renewables typify how Scotland's National Plan for Industrial Biotechnology can be implemented, and they've spent the last year developing their process at industrial scale. 

Recently named Europe's most innovative biotech SME, Scotland remains the company's location of choice - as they look towards a successful future.

The access to and support gained by Government, academia and other industry partners such as the Scottish Whisky Association, is a real strength of Scotland and has been key to our success.

Mark Simmers, CEO of Celtic Renewables

"I believe that Scotland really is a global leader in industrial biotechnology", says CEO Mark Simmers. "There has been a significant commitment made by the Scottish Government to grow the IB sector in Scotland and to support companies like ours through R&D and other commercialisation phases."

Investing in Scotland

"The access to and support gained by Government, academia and other industry partners such as the Scottish Whisky Association, is a real strength of Scotland and has been key to our success. We hope to build our first demonstration facility at the Grangemouth petrochemical plant by 2018, which will give us close proximity to a large cluster of petrochemical and chemicals companies and access to a well developed infrastructure and facilities" Mark believes.

"Our next step is to develop a commercial scale demonstration plant in Scotland, with the ultimate goal being to expand beyond our borders. With the support of Scottish Enterprise, I truly believe that we can make a substantive contribution to reducing Scotland's environmental footprint, whilst building a business that is capable of expanding internationally - and capitalising on established fuel and chemical supply chains."

How we can help

Interested in being part of Scotland’s thriving Industrial Biotechnology sector? Our support can help you find the right location, identify key markets and access some of the world’s top R&D facilities. With significant business support – and one of Europe’s lowest tax rates – it’s easy to understand why so many companies decide to settle in Scotland.

Discover Scotland's chemical sciences sector