December 16

How to convert corn into biodiesel

4  comments

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Is this the fuel of the future?
Lauri Venøy, the owner of a Norwegian company, has come up with a new idea to exploit the obesity epidemic in America. Money quote.

More than sixty percent of Americans are overweight and the Norwegian’s firm in Miami, Florida is in the process of signing an agreement with US hospital giant Jackson Memorial. This deal would give Venøy & Co. around 11,500 liters of human fat a week from liposuction operations, which is enough to produce about 10,000 liters of bio-diesel.
“Maybe we should urge people to eat more so we can create more raw material for fuel,” Venøy said.


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  1. no need to use human fat for this process. an aussie guy can make the same stuff from vegetable oil, mainly canola oil that has been used to fry the chips at any fast food place. all it’s good for anyway!! Also ethanol another biofuel can be made from the sugar plant – great use for that non food as well.
    Hi Helen–
    And let all that liposucked fat go to waste?  If it will free us from foreign oil, I’m willing to use anything that works.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  2. It won’t be long before this Norwegian entrepreneur has a domestic supply of liposuctioned human fat. Then the US will have to find another “belly” buyer :-).
    We visit my SIL’s family near Bergen, Norway and my husband’s cousins in Southern Norway every 2nd or 3rd year or so (my first visit was in ’95). On average, the Norwegian senior citizens are quite fit by any standard: X-country skiing into their 80s; walking a lot and riding bikes around town and up hilly roads that would do in most American teenagers; and until very recently, consuming a traditional local Nordic diet of wholesome and traditional foods (not a lot of variety or spice, though … my husband’s joke is “white food, with white sauce, on a white plate”, but truly it can be wonderful with a thoughtful cook, like my SIL). The middle aged adults are generally pretty fit and enjoy lots of active pastimes (sailing, swimming, skiing, cycling, hiking, etc.) but do not do a lot of exercise “just for fitness”, from what I have observed.
    The last visit in summer ’05 was a shock. I saw more chubby and kids and young adults than I have ever seen in Norway (but not as many as here in So Cal, which is a relatively “skinny” part of the US). Sedentary lifestyles are increasing even in this “active” part of the world. And the diet has changed tremendously with lots of imported, non-seasonal, and highly processed foods. On several long train and ferry rides we observed parents feeding preschoolers not much more than juice and huge bags of sweet bread (food, especially prepared food in restaurants and snack bars, is quite expensive in Europe, & Scandinavia in particular so many parent pack food to save money when eating away from home), as well as teenagers eating lots of fast food. And the low-fat, non-fat, unsaturated fat instead of traditional saturated fats have crept in and are taking hold (all over Europe this is my observation; Norway has just been a little slower to adopt the trend). Even the seniors are dropping things like cream for non-fat, non-dairy “creme”.
    In a recent email, my SIL, who is a chef, says that most Norwegians could have come close to the 100 Mile Diet and eating seasonally until about 10-15 years ago when “they became disgustingly wealthy” (her words, not mine). The Norwegians enjoy one of the highest levels of health in the world, with exceptional height and athletic abilities, low infant mortality, long life expectancy, and excellent healthcare (this is not to say that everything in Norway is perfect or at the highest level, but by many standards, the citizens have an extremely high standard of living, with fewer divisions between the “haves & have nots”).
    But if the younger Norwegian generations continue this dietary and sedentary lifestyle trend, their health will soon follow in the footsteps of the US: worse health for more people at younger ages. It’s sad to see.
    Fint sunnhet og glade Nytt År (Good health and happy New Year), Anna
    Hi Anna–
    I’ve noticed the same thing in my European travels over the years.  I haven’t been to Norway since 1969, but I’ve been many, many other places and seen the same thing you’ve observed in Norway.  It used to be the Americans who were freaky fat (to the Europeans), now it’s the Europeans too.  Its funny that they are following in our footsteps in adopting the low-fat, high-carb diet and are achieving the same results.
    Best–
    MRE

  3. Heheh, I’m halfway through The Omnivore’s Dilemma right now, and this strikes me as very resonant with Pollan’s description of how the surplus of corn is driving every conceivable use. Here we basically have two uses in one – nourishment (or rather fattening), and then energy use. I’ll guess we’ll be a type of ethanol processing machine? Ugh!
    Hi Levi–
    Yep, we’ll be machines that convert carbs to fuel.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  4. Perhaps we should seek a government subsidy for the extraction of this valuable national “natural” resource?
    We could integrate it with the plasma donation system. Even pay “donors”.
    Hi George–
    Great idea!  I’ll set it up.  Wanna invest?
    Cheers–
    MRE 

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