Government dishes out £25m for 'next generation' waste to biofuel plants

Whisky, forestry and household by-products will be turned into biofuels thanks to new funding awarded today by the Department for Transport.

Three UK companies will share a £25 million fund to help them turn waste products into green fuel

Three UK companies will share a £25 million fund to help them turn waste products into green fuel

Three UK companies will share a £25 million fund to help them turn waste products into green fuel.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: “Biofuels have an important role to play in keeping Britain moving forward in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. This £25 million is not only a vital investment in technology that will help secure a greener future but will also support the creation of thousands of jobs.

“Advanced biofuels have the potential to save at least 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions from the equivalent fossil fuel. The 3 successful bids show how the government is investing in transport and making better, clean journeys.”

The winning schemes were:

  • Celtic Renewables, based in Edinburgh, has been awarded £11 million to fund a new plant to make biofuels from Scotch whisky by-products, with plans to open a further 3 commercial plants across Scotland in the future
  • Nova Pangaea Technologies Ltd, based in Tees Valley, will receive £3 million to help make biofuels from forestry waste
  • Advanced Plasma Power (APP), in Swindon, will receive £11 million to help develop biofuels from ordinary household waste
Government-backed report released earlier this year claimed that the UK transport industry must embrace biofuels if it is to meet EU decarbonisation targets. The use of waste streams in these projects also helps overcome accusations that biofuels take up land that could be used to grow food.

DfT Video: Waste into biofuels


World first

Swindon-based APP say the plant they will build with the funding will be the first ever to turn waste into biomethane for vehicle use.

Biomethane can be used interchangeably with natural gas in heavy goods vehicles and is significantly less carbon-intensive and less polluting than diesel. APP’s output fuel will be used by a local haulage firm, potentially cutting transport fleet carbon emissions by up to 96%.

APP CEO Rolf Stein said: “The grant highlights the important role our technology can play in producing clean biofuels from waste on a local basis, so as to help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from both the waste management as well as transport sectors without the requirement to give over large swathes of land to growing energy crops.

“From an economic, environmental and social perspective it presents a real triple win.”


Professor Martin Tangney, the founder of Celtic Renewables, said the grant would help create an entire new industry around turning whisky waste into biofuels.

Julie Hesketh-Laird from the Scotch Whisky Association said: "The Scotch Whisky industry is always looking at innovative ways to support Scottish industry and help the environment. Projects that make use of whisky by-products for alternative means are a great example of us working together to find a high-tech solution.

The green credentials of the Scotch sector have been given a bump in recent weeks, with the opening of an AD plant in a Diageo factory in Speyside and a new Virdiror plant in North Lanarkshire that promises to supply high-quality recycled glass

Brad Allen


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