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Norfolk Town's Schools First To Be Heated By Burning Cattle

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the burn-it-up dept.

Earth 83

A "trailblazing" Norfolk town has begun heating many of its buildings - including the schools - by burning oil made from melted-down cow and pig carcasses. The strategy is described as "equal or lower in carbon footprint than natural gas." Should schools have to offer vegetarian heating?

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What seriously could go wrong! (1)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804571)

What seriously could go wrong!

Possibly... (0, Troll)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804577)

The most effed up thing I've seen in a while. Who in their right mind would think this is better than wind or solar power?

Re:Possibly... (1)

UberMorlock (1391949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804753)

I see nothing in the article that says they feel this is better than wind or solar power. Instead, it is simply stated that they feel this will reduce their carbon footprint relative to using heating oil or natural gas only. Renewable energy sources aren't mentioned in the article, at all.

Re:Possibly... (3, Interesting)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804853)

Uh, cattle are renewable.

-Peter

Re:Possibly... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804911)

Incidentally, so are babies. Which begs the question: why aren't we looking into babies as an alternative source of energy? I'm sure they can be melted down just as easily and I'll bet we can find plenty of willing producers.

Re:Possibly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26805271)

I heard from an acquaintance in America that that is quite common over there.

Re:Possibly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807163)

Nope, we use 'em for eating. Throw a couple on the barbecue, an' them's good vittles!

Babies as an energy source... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26805457)

Which begs the question: why aren't we looking into babies as an alternative source of energy?

I saw a movie about that.

Re:Babies as an energy source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26805759)

And by all serious consideration, doing so is akin to producing biodiesel - you need to put more energy into it than that ultimately get out of, wrt. the climate debate.

Re:Babies as an energy source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26810981)

Isn't that called baby oil?

Re:Possibly... (1)

mackil (668039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26806067)

Why not! Babies are already used as cheap alternatives to turkey at Christmas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense_and_Senility)

Re:Possibly... (4, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#26806533)

There's a good reason for this. If you had read the article, they said that proponents of burning animal carcasses admitted that, by itself, it's a very inefficient method of heating, since so much energy has to go into raising these animals to maturity; you end up getting less energy from burning them than you did getting to that point.

However, the animals' primary use is for food, not heat. The carcasses burned are just a leftover waste product normally, so burning them for heat makes sense because otherwise the carcasses would just be trash.

Babies, unlike farm animals, aren't normally used for food. So, applying the logic above, it wouldn't make economic sense to raise them just to burn them.

I hope this answers your question.

Re:Possibly... (1)

setagllib (753300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808085)

Clearly we must burn dead people instead.

Oh wait, that's already very common and well accepted.

Re:Possibly... (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26817589)

We use a vastly greater amount of fuel to burn (cremate) dead bodies than they would provide as a fuel source.

And it's been that way since bodies were first put on funeral pyres.

Re:Possibly... (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809277)

Babies, unlike farm animals, aren't normally used for food. So, applying the logic above, it wouldn't make economic sense to raise them just to burn them.

I'd be voting for you, should we elect a /. advocate for, say, free software. Just to hear your arguments. In fact, I tried getting into your rhetoric mood to come up with a few possible examples. And failed. Horribly so.

Re:Possibly... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26806803)

What a modest proposal

Re:Possibly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807115)

Your post is ridiculous and disingenuous. You know damn well the phrase is "raises the question."

Re:Possibly... (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809845)

That is a truly offal idea.

Re:Possibly... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812747)

Now there's a modest proposal.

Re:Possibly... (1)

neight108 (974915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816031)

Sounds like a modest proposal [google.com] .

Re:Possibly... (1)

UberMorlock (1391949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805021)

Ok. Fine. The article says nothing about traditional renewable resources. Happy?

Re:Possibly... (4, Informative)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805053)

Burning fat for heat is traditional. The Inuit have been doing it for millennia.

Re:Possibly... (4, Funny)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805445)

Burning fat for heat is traditional. The Inuit have been doing it for millennia.

Hmmn, I think America's energy problems are over.

Re:Possibly... (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807737)

Agreed. Apparently most of these posters have never heard why baleen oil from whales was so sought after...

Re:Possibly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26806039)

And oil and gas aren't renewable? Where do you think the oil and gas came from? The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Re:Possibly... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#26806485)

Don't be retarded. "Renewable" is of course a relative term. Oil and gas take millions of years to create, so they're not renewable. Cattle take a few years to grow. This qualifies for "renewable". Even trees are considered renewable, and even the fastest-growing timber takes about 20 years to mature.

Re:Possibly... (1)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 5 years ago | (#26806879)

Yeah, I read the article, I know renewable energy sources aren't mentioned. That was kind of my point. If they want to reduce their carbon footprint, they should look in another direction. Seriously, just on a practical level, the energy it takes to grow the animals has to offset any 'savings' gained.

Re:Possibly... (2, Funny)

bluelip (123578) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804809)

So we should bury the refuse instead of utilizing as much as we can?

Clearly, you've been educated beyond your intellect.

Re:Possibly... (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805041)

Indeed, and so are the losers who are against using waste fat for fuel. [slashdot.org] America has both a fat problem and an energy problem that can be fixed through liposuction and the candle and fuel industry.

We use lots of cows (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804859)

And I suspect we always will.

And lots of the parts will only be eaten by Anthony Boudain and such and as such we will cow parts to dispose of.

And our heating/power systems are geared to use hydrocarbons.

Sounds like a win-win to me.

I thought biodiesel and such was as green as it gets.

Cold-pressed cow sounds like a renewable source of hydrocarbons.

Re:We use lots of cows (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805075)

No, these parts are eaten by the masses in the form of bologna and hot dogs. There are very few parts that need disposal, 4000 years of cow herding has made humans very adapt at using every last morsel. And then there is always pet food, and army rations.

Re:We use lots of cows (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805697)

A win-win. I say, WHEN WHEN? Hehehe...

And if the kids learn not to to prattle, addle, they can write masterfully, and engage in learning, and kerning battle...

Re:Possibly... (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804883)

Someone with carcasses they need to dispose of anyway?

-Peter

Re:Possibly... (1)

nasor (690345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805279)

The carbon in the cows came from plants, which came from CO2 when the plants where doing photosynthesis - so it is carbon neutral.

Re:Possibly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26805555)

Unfortunately the whole system (from mechanically-harvested corn kernels to rail-served cattle feedlots) is so inefficient that they're burning 10 BTU of fuel oil for every BTU of heat they get out of burning the whole cow. The only way this ever, ever makes sense economically is as a waste stream from a preexisting beef/leather industry.

MMmmm (1)

drewsup (990717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804627)

Nom Nom Num, melted cow, Yummmy!

Guide to Ninnle Posts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804651)



1. 'Ninnle' must be in the subject line. This way, any search for commentry about Ninnle can be easily found.

2. The story can be anything about Ninnle Linux, NinnleBSD, Ninnle Office, NinWM or Ninnle Labs, and must contain at least one in the body of the comment.

3. The CEO and CFO of Ninnle Labs are P. O. Prune and Joseph Bloggins respectively. Either or both ofthese may be used in proper context.

4. 'First Ninnle Post!" and variants are offtopic and silly.

5. NinnleninnleninnleninnleninnleninnleninnleninnleBATMAN posts are completely offtopic and have no connection or endorsement of Ninnle Labs. This is also silly.

6. Any reply suggesting Ninnle is a fake should be referred to Niggerbuntu.

7. Spread the word about Ninnle.

Happy Ninnling!

**sigh** (1)

wolf12886 (1206182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804679)

Granted, this is idle, but the sensationalist headlines are getting old.

Caus, you know, making oil from slaughter by-products is pretty much the same as "burning cattle for heat"

from the cows (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804697)

burn mor chikin

Where's the beef? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804717)

I'm sure PETA will have an orgasmic heart-attack or two for this one.

Re:Where's the beef? (1)

Atrox666 (957601) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812247)

I wonder if the same system would work on seakitten

Re:Where's the beef? (1)

random coward (527722) | more than 5 years ago | (#26813977)

Nah; PETA's too busy burning crosses at the westminster dog show in their white robes and hoods [usatoday.com]

Vegetarian Heating? (4, Funny)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804721)

Should schools have to offer vegetarian heating?

You want to heat your school by burning vegetarians? You people are sick! Sick I tell you! Sick!

Next you'll be telling me that soylent green is people. Yeah, sure, like the government would let that happen.

Re:Vegetarian Heating? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805649)

Next you'll be telling me that soylent green is people.

Soylent Green hasn't been made from real people for years. They've been using a manufactured petro-chemical substitute, but most people didn't notice the change. I personally think it's a lot more bland and kind of ashy tasting. You can still get the good stuff at some import markets, though.

Re:Vegetarian Heating? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807021)

...and for Passover and in Mexico.

Re:Vegetarian Heating? (1)

zlexiss (14056) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816239)

Umm, cows _are_ vegetarians!

Wonderful advances. (4, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#26804855)

It's a wonderful leap forward in green technology. By eliminating the sources of methane gas, the world gets a lot greener.

Once you can get over the sound of all the shrieking cows.

Re:Wonderful advances. (2, Funny)

The Creator (4611) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805217)

Once you can get over the sound of all the shrieking cows.

Thtat's easy, we'll start making fuel from human ears aswell!

Re:Wonderful advances. (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805481)

Once you can get over the sound of all the shrieking cows.

Did you miss the word "carcasses" in TFS? Think rendering plants.

Re:Wonderful advances. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26805855)

We'd get past that just as we did the sound of all of the shrieking people as they are laid underground during burial :)

Re:Wonderful advances. (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805889)

Once you can get over the sound of all the shrieking cows.

Luckily cow hide is very insulating.

Could be worse... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26804951)

...at first, I'd assumed it was a truncated headline, with the word "dung" left off of the end.

That would be nothing new at all, anyway.

Natural gas (1)

darkdaedra (1061330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805101)

How is that not natural gas?

Re:Natural gas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26805385)

It's liquid.

Shouldn't the tag be "pureanduddernonsense" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26805587)

I mean that one just seems too easy.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26805613)

Shouldn't that be pure and udder nonsense?

Bio-oil not very economical. (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805783)

When you consider the energy required to grow a fat pig or cow, how could this ever be practical?

It takes thousands of pounds of feed grain to raise a big pig or cow. Only a small percentage of that energy gets captured as oil or fat.
Then you need to expend more energy to melt out that oil or fat.

I suspect it would be about ten times more efficient if they just burned the feed grain in their furnaces.

Re:Bio-oil not very economical. (1)

Aneurysm (680045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805901)

The proponents of tallow-based fuel admit that raising livestock in order to burn their corpses for energy would be a very carbon-intensive way of making biofuel. Rearing cattle or pigs involves the emission of lots of greenhouse gases. But that's not the idea: rather, the thinking goes, people will raise livestock anyway in order to eat it. Thus it makes sense to use the waste products for energy.

The point is you're not raising cattle or pigs in order to make the oil you're using an otherwise wasted by-product. Take for instance an old dairy cow that has lived past their efficient milking years or fat byproducts stripped for otherwise useless butchers waste. Also I would imagine turning sick animals into usable oil would be a better alternative to just burning them.

Re:Bio-oil not very economical. (2, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#26806577)

Don't be stupid. People aren't raising pigs and cows just to burn them; they're raising them for food. The carcasses are a by-product that would be wasted otherwise.

Of course, it'd be more efficient if people just ate feed grain directly instead of feeding it to cows and then eating the cows (and burning their carcasses). However, people don't like feed grain very much, whereas cows are quite tasty.

What an outlandishly boneheaded statement. (2, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26805831)

"Equal or lower in carbon footprint than natural gas."

Is someone here trying to tell us that prepping farmland, sewing and growing crops on it, feeding it to cattle which then ist slaughtered and/or dies of natural causes and blended into a pulp in order to get oil out of it has a lower carbon footprint than natural gas? And what about turning just the crops into biogas and skipping the cattle all together? Is this cattle-industry PR for the extra-stupid, or what?

Lower carbon footprint ... Give me a f*cking break! Everybody with more that 2 braincells knows that modern livestock agriculture has about the worst eco-balance you can get, apart from maybe burning coal for electricity or something. From entire state-sized patches of rainforest being uprooted each year for argentiniean beefsteak and Mc-Donalds Burgers, south-american soy being shipped halfway across the globe to austria to be fed to their cattle while the people there are starving all the way to long-chained uber-pesticides for chowcrop monocultures that seep into the groundwater and polute the entire foodchain for decades to come, industrial mass livestock is one of the cornerstones of our current enviromental problems and ought to be taxed heavyly worldwide. 30% VAT on every livestock - dead or alive - crossing international borders just to cover the eco-balance is what we really need. I strongly suspect the linked article to be some PR rubbish launched by a meat industry in recession.

Bottom line: Complete and utter bullshit. Mod accordingly and move along.

Re:What an outlandishly boneheaded statement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807887)

I was going to mod you accordingly, but there is no "stupid" selection in the drop box...

Re:What an outlandishly boneheaded statement. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807965)

Bottom line: Complete and udder bullshit. Mod accordingly and move along.

There, fixed it for you :)

McDonalds using rainforest meat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26809711)

From entire state-sized patches of rainforest being uprooted each year for argentiniean beefsteak and Mc-Donalds Burgers,

Do you have a source for the statement that McDonalds uses rainforest meat? I would be interested to hear.

Maybe your post can be modded accordingly to the evidence you provide.

Using secondary waste products (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26811391)

I know, I know, this is Slashdot, but you really need to read articles before commenting on them, because /. article summaries, are, as a rule, always incorrect in some important detail (yes, hopeless, I admit, and I also admit to making the same mistake in the past, but. . .).

From the fine article:

"The proponents of tallow-based fuel admit that raising livestock in order to burn their corpses for energy would be a very carbon-intensive way of making biofuel. Rearing cattle or pigs involves the emission of lots of greenhouse gases. But that's not the idea: rather, the thinking goes, people will raise livestock anyway in order to eat it. Thus it makes sense to use the waste products for energy.

Nobody is suggesting that it makes sense to raise livestock exclusively for fuel use. What they are proposing is using the millions of gallons of waste fat and oil created as a byproduct of food and leather production worldwide, every year, as a fuel source. This is, really, a very ancient idea. Almost all peoples around the world (except those few ethnic groups, such as Hindus, that may have been almost exclusively vegetarian) used the fats and oils from the animals they used for food and hide, as a source of light and heat - whale blubber, bison fat, caribou fat, etc. have been rendered into lamp oils and candles for thousands of years.

But, it's true that this is not really a 'solution', because there is not enough waste oil to provide all of the heat that is necessary for buildings in cold climates the world 'round. However, it does make sense to use those waste products to the extent that they can be, to heat some buildings.

Consider this (1)

orcusomega (948569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812205)

Simple explanation. The article does not advocate the raising of cattle for purposes of generating heat - it is simply utilizing waste that already exists. This WASTE is renewable in a manner of speaking i.e. it is the by-product of already occurring practices. Instead of sending the left-overs to a rendering facility for full homogenization, they are using the leftovers to make heat. Instead of a landfill feast for sea gulls, we can generate something useful instead of more trash. And considering that biomass that is put into the landfills, regardless of how biodegradable the material is, will sit for decades unchanged (See National Geographic's article some time back where they dug up a 15 year old clump of lettuce from a landfill that was in no significant way degraded).

The secondary benefit is that instead of the smell of burning coal down-wind from the plant, you have the smell of hamburgers :)

What goes around, comes around (0, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26806079)

universal rule. never forget. it doesnt matter what you think, what you believe, how you rationalize, or how you see fit, who you are, whom you are with.

what goes around, comes around, sooner or later. and it grows. if it comes later, its impact is bigger due to cause-effect chains, if it comes sooner, it may come back as it went.

the relevance ? well. our current civilization has become an increasingly brutal civilization ... think and imagine.

Re:What goes around, comes around (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 5 years ago | (#26806609)

our current civilization has become an increasingly brutal civilization

You're not very familiar with the history of the human race are you?

Re:What goes around, comes around (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26806801)

the brutality in history is disorganized and comparably small by percentage.

today its mass manufactured, standardized, spanning the globe.

Re:What goes around, comes around (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807187)

Tell that to Alexander the Great. Attila. $ROMAN_EMPEROR. Genghis Khan. The European colonial powers. General Sherman.

Even a century ago (just before the outbreak of WW I), nobody thought much of minimizing the impact of war on civilians. No one cared about collateral damage. The term didn't even exist. Go back another 50 years and it was still widely considered a normal part of war to wage it upon civilians as well as military personnel. The enemy was the enemy.

Fast forward to WW II and you find a lot of that again. WW II was a lot more brutal than WW I. WW II was in many respects an anomaly in the midst of a general trend toward less brutal war. In both the European and Pacific theaters, targeting civilians was common on all sides,

The general trend has been toward fighting war with kid gloves on. For example, in WW II, not one brick would have been left piled on another in a place like Fallujah. It would have been bombed flat, along with any civilians who didn't leave.

Without arguing for brutality from a moral standpoint, it's pretty clear that the way we fight wars these days has a lot to do with the difficulty of achieving the objective of a war. When you're fighting a war, "Screw public opinion, screw the enemy, and screw any civilian who gets in the way" is a far more effective way to win it. Or as Machiavelli would put, it's a lot better to have people fear you than love you. Fear lasts. Love doesn't.

War - and humanity - are definitely less brutal now than in the past. There are exceptions, of course. Islam, which has practiced conversion at swordpoint since the day of Mohammed, has, if anything, become more brutal. Saladin treated prisoners and civilians in accordance with Islamic standards of hospitality. Not so for bin Laden and Wahabis in general. They'd just as soon not take prisoners, and when they do, they'll like as not wind up dead, unless maybe they convert to Islam and switch sides.

aaaah (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26812429)

i said that the civilization grew increasingly more brutal, and you actually spoke against this but actually supported it ?

that being said, brutality context here is not limited to wars and brutality in between mankind.

Will the Barbarians never learn? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26806367)

Oh, wait, I thought you said Burning Castle.

Never mind.

Amazing (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26806613)

I used to live in Norfolk, Virginia, and I never thought they would have resorted to this.

Re:Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26810339)

They haven't. It's the original Norfolk. The one in the UK. Not the Johny-come-lately Norfolk.

I get it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26807853)

If we get PETA to turn against Greenpeace I can sit back comfortably in my bovine heated palace and enjoy. Brilliant!

Should schools have to offer vegetarian heating? (1)

raedeon (1246638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26807967)

Since most vegetarians are skinny and frail, I don't think they'd burn long enough to really be efficient

New nursery rhyme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26808047)

Mary had a little lamb.
Her father shot it dead.
She took it with her to school next day.
And you all know the rest...

So what is the melting point of a cow? (1)

fava (513118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26808485)

And after you melt the cow can you cast it into a new cow?

Optimising (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 5 years ago | (#26809365)

We need a god of evolution to make cows which burn better. Someone contact Ponder Stibbons.

profit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26809899)

1. encourage everyone to becaome obese - produce more fat and shorten their life span.
2. burn the bodies to create energy
3. profit!

much better to use as fertilizer (1)

nido (102070) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816159)

freeze dry in liquid nitrogen, use the resulting powder as fertilizer. wrote a diary a few years back:

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/11/6/0016/23536 [kuro5hin.org]

Hell yea!! _\m/ (1)

carn1fex (613593) | more than 5 years ago | (#26816987)

That school is SO metal!!
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