A trailblazing Irish scientist whose pioneering whiskey-derived biofuel could revolutionise global transport has been awarded an OBE.
Scotland-based professor Martin Tangney, who is originally from Cork, made headlines last year when he test-drove the first ‘whiskey-powered’ car fuelled by his biofuel, biobutanol.
He has now been awarded an honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to engineering and energy industries.
It is the second of five grades of OBE — the highest being a knight or a dame.
“This came very much out of the blue for me — growing up this is that last thing I would have envisaged happening a lad from Macroom,” Prof Tangney said last night.
“I was actually in London on business when the letter arrived, which my wife opened — and she then had to sit on it for three days before she finally managed to get the right opportunity to sit me down with a bottle of champagne and show me the letter.
“I genuinely shook in disbelief and don’t know how many times I read it before I could take it all in.
“I can’t overstate how much an honour this is, and amazingly I find myself in the company of some very great Irish people who have done far more significant things than me.
“Any honour of this magnitude is never the sole work of an individual and I owe this to very many people who have guided and shaped my career, and me as a person, over the years.”
Last summer, Prof Tangney test-drove a standard Ford Focus fuelled by biobutanol. No engine modification was required which means his new fuel could become a direct replacement for petrol, diesel, and even jet fuel.
He expressed hope last summer of producing millions of litres of the new fuel as part of what he said would be a revolution in sustainable transport.
He is well down the road of that revolution. The company he founded secured planning permission before Christmas to build its first commercial demonstration facility at Grangemouth in Scotland.
They have raised just over €4.3m through a crowd-funding investment platform, and are now seeking a final equity investment.
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