Deep-Fried Fuel

Deep-Fried Fuel

The US Department of Agriculture’s Biodiesel-powered shuttle bus strayed near NotionsCapital headquarters last week. We were disappointed to learn that the bus is powered by 80 percent “Petrodiesel” and 20 percent soybean oil, one reason soya oil prices are up 92% and Indonesia, Austria, Hungary, Mexico, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Yemen, Mauritania, Senegal and Uzbekistan had food riots. Putting food products in car gas tanks in a starving world is a uniquely 21st century sin.

There is an alternative to this type of alternative fuel. Since Bob King began Pacific Biodiesel in 1996, many ecology-minded folks have promoted waste cooking oil as a source of fuel for transportation and heating. The most dramatic consequence: grease rustlers roaming the alleys behind restaurants. Cooking grease is a major problem in metro waste water systems; perhaps it is time to find a way to recover consumer cooking crud before it clogs city sewer pipes and put it in fuel pumps.

There is an inherent Federal policy conflict built into the waste cooking oil fuel initiative. While the U.S. Department of Energy is interested in making Biodiesel from recycled cooking oil, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges families to eat deep-fried dishes “only once in a while or on special occasions” to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.

So which do you want: healthy kids or formerly-fried fuel?

Image by Mike Licht.

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