Animal Fat to Fuel

By Sarang

The cars that we drive today will soon be using diesel produced from Animal fat. An ordinary user like us will not be able to differentiate between the normal diesel and the diesel from fat. Even the cars will not feel any difference.

After reading the article Pig Fat by Dr Amjad Khan I became curious about where this huge quantity of animal fat is being used other that the food products. According to a few years old estimate United States alone produces around 11 billion pounds of fat every year from beef, pork and poultry. This is a huge quantity of fat and obviously the livestock industry will never dump it down the drain.

Animal fat has been used as fuel for a long time. It has good burning properties which has been exploited for a long time on a smaller scale. Since it is cheaper source as compared to other fuels like coal therefore there was an attraction to use it. University of Georgia is one of the examples where the schools steam boiler was modified to use animal fat as fuel. It took around $30000 to make this modification which is a big sum. Although the running cost is much lower but the high initial cost keeps people away from it.

Now the next wave has started - In this wave the animal fat is now being converted into diesel. This eliminates the step of using specialized equipment for using animal fat as fuel and the existing engines will be able to use this fuel without requiring any modifications at all. This is indeed a giant leap for usefulness of animal fat.

ConocoPhilips, a big name in oil and gas industry, has teamed up with Tyson Foods, a major meat producer, to make this possible. They have kicked off the production and within a few years they plan reach the capacity to produce 175 million gallons of diesel from animal fat per year. This amounts to about 15000 barrels of diesel per day.

The venture of ConocoPhilips and Tyson has inspiring many other oil and gas industry giants to team up with food industry for similar projects. We will soon be using this new breed of diesel in our cars. This fuel has low amount of Carbon Dioxide and extremely low sulphur contents which makes it very environment friendly as compared to the existing diesel that we use.

How do you feel about this? Do you feel this is a good thing or a bad thing?

Related Links:
Pig Fat by Dr M Amjad Khan


Mark Dixon said...

Interesting data. I have to imagine that there are other more efficient ways of producing fuel than through growing plants that are used to feed animals that we then burn in our cars. So many energy transactions taking place, with decreasing efficiency at each step. But if is only going to be thrown away... perhaps a solution. Then again we could use our obesity epidemic to address the problem. Take a look at this video that we created during "YERT - Your Environmental Road Trip" last year...


Sarang said...

Mark thanks for sharing your video.. it was funny. By the way it could be a reality one day because it is very much possible to convert human fat into fuel. Check the following link which reports a doctor using the fat from liposuction for his car :)

Post a Comment