Biofuels are a great alternative source of energy to consider as they burn cleaner than fossil fuels, releasing fewer pollutants and greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. And, they’re essentially renewable.
You probably know the major sources of biofuel: corn, sugarcane, wheat, barely, potatoes, palm oil, canola and soya beans. There are some other options you might not have heard about, however, either because scientists are only now learning about or developing new ways to harness their potential, or because their power is for the large part still not given attention. Here are a few of the unusual, lesser known sources of biofuel.
Human Liposuction Fat
Yup, biofuel derived from unwanted human flubber. There have been reports about liposuction fat being used to power vehicles, such a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who used liposuctioned human fat to power two SUVs with biodiesel. He later faced prosecution, however, for having removed too much fat from his patients, “disfiguring” them.
Also, Skipper Pete Bethune, tried to set a round-the-world speed record running powerboat only on biodiesel. One of the constituents of his fuel was liposuction fat. This caused Richard Conniff from Smithsoniam.com to quip, “Given the global obesity epidemic, that probably seemed like a sustainable resource.”
This is a sad one for animal lovers. Sweden suffers from a wild rabbit epidemic destroying local parks. The solution – cull them by incinerating them for biofuel. A Stockholm facility is apparently also burning other dead animals like cats, cows, deer and horses.
Interestingly, hemp oil literally has a green hue, and biodiesel from hemp is sometimes called ‘hempoline’. Hemp converts the sun’s energy into cellulose via photosynthesis faster than any other plant, having about four times the potential for biomass than its closest competitors, such as sugarcane and corn. Hemp is grown quickly and easily, producing 10 tons of biomass per acre every four months, and the crop is less destructive to farmland than others.
Algae has massive energy potential. They can store half of their body weight in fat, which is ideal for rendering into oil for ethanol production. They also grow amazingly fast, so it’s a crop that could meet high demands for energy in the long run. However, that is also their limitation. Algae grows so fast, they overcrowd each other, causing immense die-offs.