Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Science News IV

Dang, the hits just keep on coming. I declare today Science Blogging Day. Now this little development is one I saw coming a mile away:

Fuel is the thing with feathers. Hoping to find an efficient way to help power automobiles and trucks, researchers at the University of Arkansas say they have developed a way to convert chicken fat to a biodiesel fuel.


R.E. Babcock, a professor of chemical engineering, said chicken-fat fuels are better for the environment and the machines.

"They burn better, create less particulate matter and actually lubricate and clean things like cylinders, pistons and fuel lines," Babcock said.

Traditionally, biodiesel producers have used refined products like soybean oil because they are easier to convert to fuels. However, the refining process makes soybean oil more expensive — and fuel producers must compete with grocers for the oil supply. Chicken fat can be a less-expensive substitute because it is available at a low cost. However, fatty acids in raw chicken fat can lead to the creation of soap during the various chemical processes.

As someone who is inordinately fond of baked chicken and who always feels guilty just THROWING AWAY all the grease that collects in the bottom of the pan, I'm quite looking forward to saving all my chicken fat in coffee cans and turning it in for Energy Credits.


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