Monday, April 16, 2012

Great News for (environmentally minded) Whiskey Drinkers!

Okay, so I suppose I'm basically stealing this article, title and all.  But it's an interesting bit of green news for the over-21 set, and a reminder of the importance of voting with your wallet.

To summarize, it turns out that whiskey (and other spirits) are on the less-green end of the spectrum of alcohol, especially when you want quality whiskey.  The biggest problem is that the production of whiskey produces a lot of byproduct that are acidic and contain traces of copper and therefore cannot be disposed of nicely.  However, one company, Celtic Renewables, has developed a method for turning this byproduct into a biofuel, animal feed and acetone - all three are substances which are important and very useful, being created out of a substance that we would otherwise have trouble throwing away.

A final point in the article, made by the company's founder, is my favorite: "'You don't need to plant virgin crops to make biodiesel,' Tangney told me. 'There's plenty of stuff just lying around that you can use.'"  One of the big arguments against biofuels is that they take away valuable land resources from food production (or wilderness areas).  However, there's still plenty of possibilities for making energy out of things we currently throw away.  Yesterday it was french fry grease.  Today whiskey.  What's in store for tomorrow?

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