The founder and president of Edinburgh-based company Celtic Renewables was presented with the award at a ceremony in Manchester on Thursday 1st Nov 2012, by Colin Murray, BBC television and radio presenter.
Others shortlisted candidates for the award included leading scientists from Australia, America and Singapore. The award is one of only two individual accolades offered by the Institute to mark outstanding contribution to scientific advancement, the other recognising the work of young chemical engineers.
Professor Tangney was recognised for his groundbreaking work in developing the technology to produce biobutanol from the by-products of whisky production.
Last month Celtic Renewables signed a memorandum of understanding with Tullibardine Distillery in Perthshire, which became the first whisky distillery in the world to have its by-products converted into advanced biofuel, capable of directly powering vehicles which run on petrol and diesel.
The company is currently undertaking commercial trials on the process, in partnership with Tullibardine, at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) at Redcar, in Teesside, with funding from Zero Waste Scotland.
Professor Tangney said he was honoured to be recognised by the Institute and to be included in such eminent company.
“This shows that companies and scientists in Scotland are still leading the way with innovation, particularly in the renewable energy sector,” he said.
Dr Sandy Dobbie, Chairman of Chemical Sciences Scotland, the strategic partnership of the chemical industry, Scotland’s universities and its government agencies, welcomed the recognition, “Martin is a classic example of the entrepreneurial spirit that constantly drives innovation in our £10 billion chemical sector, which is second only to whisky in Scotland’s exports. His IChemE Innovation award is richly deserved as his pioneering approach to converting distillery byproducts into biobutanol is a real technology breakthrough developed right here in Scotland”.
A spokesman for the Institute said: “The Innovator of the Year award recognises the individual who best demonstrates a tangible application of chemical, biochemical and/or process engineering skills to address important economic, environmental or social issues.”