Biofuel is fuel produced from organic material, indirectly or directly. Plant materials, animal waste, crops, food products and food waste – there are a number of sources from which biofuel can be produced. Most people have heard about vegetable oils, corn and sugarcane being used as raw materials for biofuel. In an effort to produce biofuels, some people and organizations have used some really kooky stuff, which we can never dream of, as the base material for biofuel. Read on to find out some of the weirdest things which were used as biofuel sources:
Human liposuction fat
In LA, California, a plastic surgeon used human liposuction fat as the raw material to produce biofuel for his SUVs. In California, human medical waste is prohibited to be used for vehicle fuels. Dr Craig Bittner was the plastic surgeon in question, who was sued by three of his patients for removing excess amounts of fats which caused their disfiguration. Bittner had to close down his practice and flee to South America.
A 10-m long whale which weighed 6 tons and more, was stranded at a beach in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Instead of lugging the dead whale to the sea or a landfill, the Suffolk District Council decided to use the dead whale’s fat for biofuel. It produced nearly 2,000 liters of biodiesel and the parts of the whale which could not be used for biodiesel was incinerated at a power station that used animal remains as raw material for production of electricity.
Sweden’s solution to bunnies reproducing at a massive rate and causing destruction of local parks, was to use them as biofuel raw material. The bunnies were captured and killed, and then burnt to produce electricity! The facility in Stockholm also incinerates dead cows, cats, horses and deer to produce biofuel.
In Europe, the excess wine produced is turned into bioethanol. In 2006, in the Bordeaux region itself, fuel ethanol was produced from a whopping 17 million liters of excess wine.
Human waste is used to produce biodiesel in Ghana, by a company called Waste Enterprises Limited. It has been awarded the SEED Initiative award by the UN’s Environmental program. The Bill Gates Foundation is funding this project.
In the UK, a bus was launched which runs on biofuel produced from food waste and human solid waste, in other words, human poo. The bus which can seat 40 people, has very low carbon footprint, and it travel 300 km, when the tank is full. The bioenergy is derived from sewage treatment facility at Bristol, set up by the company GENeco.
Researchers have found that the waste from the production of soda pop can be used as raw material to produce ethanol just by adding nitrogen and yeast.
Prince of Wales uses leftover wine to fuel his Aston Martin D 86, Jaguars, Range rover and Audi. He has made a $1 million investment to convert his leftover wine to run his cars. Though the Prince is said to have reduced emissions to 18%, there was a slight controversy about the Prince’s “Let them eat cake” attitude, as the public could not fathom the amount of wine that is NOT used by the Prince!
Sugar, beer and candy
Sugar, from candy, jellies, jams and sugar based drinks is used to produce animal feed, CO2 and electricity. Beer, soda, wine, juices and liquors, basically all sugar and alcohol based drinks can be used as the base material for bioenergy.
Gribbles is a worm with a sterile gut. The microscopic worm causes wood rot, in rowboats, piers and jetties. It is being used to convert huge quantities of wood into sugars which are then fermented and converted into hydrocarbon and alcohol fuels. These fuels are then used in engines which have internal combustion.
Fire ant fuel
Fire ants, both the black and red variety contain a high amount of oil. In a study, the lipid composition was found to be 65-75% hydrocarbons. Scientists used this knowledge to derive jet fuel by dipping them in Hexane.
Biofuel is going to be widely used in the future, and some people are coming up with ingenuous yet truly kooky things to use as raw material to produce it.