Friday, April 27, 2007

put a chicken in your tank

Greens really f--ked things up. However, unintentionally. By promoting the utility of left over frying oil as diesel fuel, they inadvertently handed the poultry industry a new market for fat trim. Now instead of selling off their trim to make soap, explosives and lipstick, Tyson will now turn some of it into diesel fuel thus adding another market to assure the stability and long range viability of one of the most dreaded operators of the factory farm.

How ironic is this ? ConocoPhillips, Tyson join to make biodiesel from fat - Apr. 16, 2007


The Foodist said...

Was listening to NPR the other day and they were doing an interesting segment on Solar/Wind Power vs Biodiesel.

Some interesting facts came out like that fact that air polution wont really be lowered all that much by switching to biodiesels.

Ill have to see if I can find a link to the segment.

The Foodist said...

Im sorry I stand corrected. It was Ethanol Pollution.

Heres a Link

Sorcha said...

The bad thing about biodiesel is the smell - like old fries. Less pollution, sure, but more stink. Maybe it's just that we're more used to the smell of gasoline exhaust, though, because it's no bed of roses either.

Lou said...

I don't know much about the subject, but isn't biodiesel a better use for animal fat than soap, explosives, and lipstick?

Bob del Grosso said...

As someone who does not wear lipstick , has no need for explosives that I'm aware of, and spends enough time in heavily chlorinated pool water to require infrequent use of soap, I have to agree that fat 4 diesel is a better app. :-)

But don't you find the idea of using animals for fuel a wee bit troubling?

In any case, I agree with Sorcha and The Foodist in that diesel in any form is no better than gasoline.

Sorcha said...

I don't know, Bob - if we use animals for fuel for our bodies, which I heartily endorse btw, is that any more moral than using the fat for fuel for our vehicles? On one hand, I understand where you're coming from - it's sort of an instinctive "ick" reaction. On the other hand, though, if I try to look at it objectively it doesn't seem any more wrong. It's coming from animals we're going to eat anyway. Maybe it would seem less icky if it weren't Tyson involved? If it were a more ethical company?

What they ought to do is use all the fat they're liposuctioning off at the plastic surgeons' offices. "Biodiesel is people!"

Bob del Grosso said...

Sorcha, I hear what you are saying. This topic reminds me of the a parallel discussion about cannibalism I've been having with Gary Allen for many years now.

In brief, the basic question is

People literally consume parts of other humans all the time (for example during oral sex or blood transfusions). We also eat people metaphorically for example, when steal take their natural resources, don't compensate them in a way that allows them to live healthy lives, so they die prematurely and are thereby "consumed or eatn by us.
So given how acclimated we are to the practice of eating/consuming humans and their erh-ah, body parts why is cannibalism such a non-starter ( you might say "ick reaction") for so many people?

Sorcha said...

I think because that's the instinctive, inbred response. It comes from our gut, no pun intended, not our brains. It's a cultural thing, obviously, since there are cultures that have practiced cannibalism regularly, and in certain situations (desperation) our own culture finds cannibalism at least forgivable. Long pig, anyone?

Lou said...


I also don't wear lipstick, but I need explosives to kill the pigeons. I make my own soap from pig fat. (Not really, I use Olay.)

I'd rather have my fuel come from chicken fat than corn. Half way through Omnivore's Dilemma, I'm convinced that corn is the most evil substance on the planet.

I admire you for your use of "blood transfusions" and "oral sex" in one sentence. My goal is to have both at the same time, and I never eat people metaphorically.

Lou said...

I think the jury's still out on ethanol. See here.

And here is an interesting article on biodiesel.

Bob del Grosso said...

You know I'm a total reductionist so lumping blood transfusion, oral sex, scab sandwiches and grilled long pork
under cannibalistic activities is pretty easy for me. But thanks for the compliment!

As for the two articles you linked I think that they both imply something that I've been uneasy about for a long time (I've got a moldy BS in Environmental Science dating from 1980): venture capital always runs fastest and deepest in the direction of products that are most like what's already being produced.

I'm sort of happy that everyone and his brother are yammering about the need to slow global warming and develop fuels that that lessen our dependence on jihadist oil, but also very worried that in the rush to replace it we're going to be in for some nasty surprises.

The Foodist said...

"Biodiesel is people!"..classic.

but seriously.

Im not sure if using animal fat for fuel crosses any moral boundry that we havent already crossed. We use animal fat to cook our food, Id think that would be a little worse then using it to get us to and from work.

As far as the cannibalism discussion goes, I think Del Grosso makes a valid point in regards to "cannabalizing" people in regards to thier resources or other such items. Since the dawn of man weve used and abused each other for personal gain, the only difference now is we try to do it "civilized". The act of consuming flesh from another human being in society today is an unforgivable act.

Unless your of course stuck on a boat with no other option. I guess it comes down to we, as humans, see ourselves as top of the food chain and as such find it below us to consume each other where there are "plenty" of lesser creatures to consume, at least in western culture.

At this point with the muss and fuss over global warning were rushing to find a quick fix solution, by doing so ideas like Bio-Desiel are sure to take the forefront in the discussions.

I think as a country we need to start looking at more renewable resources then animal fats, like solar or wind.

tscape said...

Now that Conoco is facing eviciton from Venezuela, they need to look elsewhere to make a buck!