• Aug 10th 2011 at 2:54PM
  • 18
Seeing cars powered by alcohol is nothing new. After all, that's what ethanol is. But as expensive as gasoline might get, fueling a car on single malt scotch would be more wasteful than lighting your cigar with a hundred-dollar bill. Yet that's just what one Mark Reynier is doing. Well, almost, but not quite.

Reynier is proprietor of the Bruichladdich distillery (pronounced "brook-laddie") on the Scottish isle of Islay ("eye-la"). The island is known for its smokey, peaty whiskies, and the (relatively) recently re-opened Bruichladdich distillery is already earning itself distinction not only for the quality of its whiskies – this writer thoroughly enjoyed a glass of the good stuff just the other day – but also for its sustainability. Bruichladdich offers a range of organic single malts, and is also one of the first distilleries to operate self-sufficiently.

The distillery grows, malts and distills its own whisky on-site (a rarity even among single malts), but it has now taken things a step further. Bruichladdich, you see, generates its own electricity by reusing the waste products from the distilling process. And now Reynier is also using that electricity to charge up his Nissan Leaf.

To celebrate the feat, Nissan and Bruichladdich have teamed up for a special Leaf edition organic whisky. Follow the jump to watch the video and read the full press release, and check out the images in the high-resolution gallery for a closer look.

Show full PR text

- Pioneering distillery owner completes quest for self-sufficiency
- LEAF cements place at forefront of motoring innovation
- Nissan's 100% electric LEAF has provided the crucial last element in an innovative business owner's attempts to become entirely self-sufficient on the remote Hebridean island of Islay.

The award-winning 130-year old Bruichladdich whisky distillery has established a pioneering Biowayste system allowing it to generate its own electricity by using the waste products from the distilling process.

Business owner, Mark Reynier, started using the system, in which electricity is generated by biogas formed by a process called anaerobic digestion, earlier this year.

Now he has also taken delivery of a Nissan LEAF, the reigning European and World Car of the Year, meaning that he can also drive completely carbon-free, charging his car using the electricity produced by the distillery.

To celebrate the role played by the LEAF, Nissan and Bruichladdich have produced a limited run of bespoke, LEAF-labelled organic whisky.

Mr Reynier has already been hugely impressed by the car: "The LEAF is fantastic to drive. It was frustrating to be making such strides in being self-sufficient, when my car still needed the most expensive diesel in the UK from the mainland. The arrival of the LEAF has allowed me to be as truly self-sufficient as possible."

The Bruichladdich whisky distillery has long been a source of innovation. Built in 1881 by three pioneering brothers, its arrival first brought electricity to the 230 square-mile island. Its ingenious Victorian design was so ahead of its time, the same machinery is still used to this day to make whisky.

Today, the distillery's waste streams are all ploughed back into powering and producing for the business.

Draff (spent barley) is taken by local island farmers to feed cows, whose slurry is spread on fields growing the distillery's barley.

Meanwhile pot ale, the watery waste product left over after distilling, is converted into biogas which powers a generator to produce electricity for the distillery. During the process, called anaerobic digestion, bespoke microbes digest the "pot ale" to produce large quantities of high-quality biogas.

Mr Reynier said: "We are not eco-warriors but we wanted to see how we could do our part. Most schemes along these lines are hare-brained and have little commercial merit, but this one does. Though the technology has existed since 1860, only now is it economically viable on this small scale.

"With the addition of the LEAF, we're happy in the knowledge that we're doing everything we can, whether growing barley here on the island, organically and biodynamically, to be environmentally sympathetic both in our work and home life."

James Douglas, Nissan's Corporate Sales Director, said: "Mr Reynier's case goes to prove that sustainable motoring is a very realistic proposition. He is one of the many businessmen discovering that the Nissan LEAF can bring very real financial benefits to his company."

Bruichladdich is the only producer of organic whisky on Islay, which is home to no fewer than eight malt whisky distilleries, and recently distilled the first ever biodynamic whisky.

The Nissan LEAF is similarly trail-blazing in its innovative use of green technology. Featuring a range between charges of up to 110 miles, the family hatchback is powered by an in-house developed compact electric motor and inverter in the front of the car which drives the front wheels.

The AC motor develops 80 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque, enough for a maximum speed of 90mph.

Nissan LEAF comes fully equipped with features such as climate control, satellite navigation, rear-view parking camera, a quick charge socket and innovative smart-phone connectivity.

It is also the first all-electric vehicle to be awarded the highest five star safety rating by the independent EuroNCAP organisation.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can just see people starting their own backyard stills.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Powering a generator by bio-methane rather than ethyl alcohol fuel is currently much cheaper and seems like that's what they're doing. Furthermore, to make electricity and hot water is definetely the more efficient way to go rather than just refining automotive fuel for rather inefficient use (up to 80-90 % instead of 10-25 % for sc-cc micro-turbines or 10-16 % on combustion engine).
        • 4 Years Ago
        The most efficient way to generate electricity from biomass is burning the biomass directly or via gassification. Remember that both ethanol and methane are waste byproducts of organisms that are digesting organic feedstock to use much of the energy in the feedstock for their sustenance-- there are energy losses involved. However, the problem with direct biomass generation, is managing the emissions-- which would be too difficult for a small operation like this. Also, the remnants of the biogas generation would be high in nitrogen and useful for organic farming.
          • 4 Years Ago
          Biomethane (sometimes referred to as refined biogas) could be treated to remove carbon dioxide, sulphur compounds and siloxanes almost completely. Not sure though if they've done the same, since most often biogas is used raw to generate electricity and hot water.
          • 4 Years Ago
          Addition: Stockholm in Sweden also uses... to create biomethane (LBG) to fuel...
          • 4 Years Ago
          Agree that drying wet biomass to combust uses a lot of energy (whether to burn or use as feed), which is why biogas is often derrived from wet biomass like dairy manure and sewer sludge. Biogas also tends to come from biomass with high ash/sulfur/nitrogen content that would make direct combustion more difficult. It seems they are using the distillers grains (remnants from making ethanol), which are high in non-carbon content and would be particularly tricky to burn in a biomass generator.
          • 4 Years Ago
          The video shows the two waste streams as liquid and hence the talk about bio-methane and their selection of it (Stockholm in Sweden uses liquid waste from sewers to fuel transit buses and some power plants). It is true that solid biomass would be more efficient fuel than refining it with anaerobic digestion. However the drying process of mentioned liquid waste streams also use some energy and the waste is already often required to be treated before released. Direct-waste combustion (incineration) has regulations like no other for the safety of users and environment beyond.
      Marco Polo
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hey! I know these guys! Very, very good men! I meet when working on ship. Ship stop in Scotland, da! Hav' very good time! Very fine 'visky! Hullo, Hullo, Once again,great greetings to American Comrades!! Ee here at the former No 5 Peoples Auto-plant and Cabbage Distillery, have distilling aparatus to charge your car!! Not just car, you understand, da,da, charge any bloody tink! Tractor, truck, wife, political prisone...(no,no.. forget the old days! Hmmm...maybe Pentegon buy , no, no.. best forget. ) any charge anything! (Vot is 'Leaf" ? Ve have Putin's best freind's No Go, sorry YoGo EV, ...hmmm ...maybe is NoGo....is Leaf same? ) Just need little more money to perfect device! We hate asking, but last winter very hard. For small loan, we can offer very good return. (Interest paid in Voldka or shares) . (Will accept visky). Your old friend, Boris (Honest). Putin Motors Inc.. (also slightly used Mig's, T-72 Tanks, Icebreaker, for sale, big discount for cash)
      • 4 Years Ago
      used to run my58 dodge on Georgia moonshine
      • 4 Years Ago
      Glenfiddich where I live is $40.00 a fifth. Think I'll keep paying $3.70 a gallon for gas and put the single malt into me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's it! In my next life, I want to be a Nissan!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Chrysler Turbine cars, back in the fifties and sixties, could use any liquid fuel you put in it: alcohol, jet fuel, gasoline, diesel, or cooking oil. Or scotch or vodka for that matter. Might not have run well on wine or beer (alcohol content too low).
      • 4 Years Ago
      what do you think prohibition was about .not us drinking to much it was about stopping the car companies from running their cars on alcohol .it was robbing the oil man namely rockafellas standard oil. thats why ford was hated
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have tried many programs in an effort to stop the paycheck to pay check syndrome. I'm a single parent , I work full-time and in the past I worked full time and 2 or 3 extra jobs. After experiencing a dead-end moment in my finances, not un-like most people in this economy, I was presented with this amazing simple money making opportunity: ( HTtp://tinyurl.com/OnlineBizSystem ) My trouble in the past was that all my attempts at actually making money online failed. I was just throwing dollar after dollar at any income opportunity out there...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe they could build one that runs on rice pee.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Finally...a proper use for Suntory.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Does anyone know where you can buy some of this Nissan Leaf Whisky? Bruichladdich's online retailers don't seem to carry it.
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