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NASA Fires Up Jet Fuel That Tastes Like Chicken

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-recommended-for-human-consumption dept.

NASA 147

coondoggie writes "It may never make it into everyday jet-fighter use, but NASA is checking out biofuel made from chicken and beef fat. The chicken fat fuel, known as Hydrotreated Renewable Jet Fuel, was burned in the engine of a DC-8 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center as part of its Alternative Aviation Fuels Experiment, which is looking at developing all manner of biofuel alternatives to traditional Jet Propellant 8. The DC-8 is used as a test vehicle because its engine operations are well-documented and well-understood, NASA says."

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147 comments

Disappointment (2)

akkornel (1800252) | more than 2 years ago | (#35938984)

I am disappointed that NASA engineers could not come up with a way to use the acronyms CLUCK and MOO.

Re:Disappointment (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939256)

I am disappointed that NASA engineers could not come up with a way to use the acronyms CLUCK and MOO.

I'm disappointed because I read it as fuel that tasted like children, and that made more sense, 'cos you'd get a LOT more fat from rendering down the average American kid than you would from a chicken.

Re:Disappointment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939438)

'cos you'd get a LOT more fat from rendering down the average American kid than you would from a chicken.

Only in terms of individual output. When you look at the net gain, it takes too long to grow the kid, and it costs an absurd amount to overfeed him.

Re:Disappointment (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940310)

'cos you'd get a LOT more fat from rendering down the average American kid than you would from a chicken.

Only in terms of individual output. When you look at the net gain, it takes too long to grow the kid, and it costs an absurd amount to overfeed him.

Yes, think of all the chickens that kid would eat, chickens that could have been rendered directly into jet fuel. Not a very green solution.

I shudder to think that soon the whole world will smell like the alley behind Kentucky Duck.

Re:Disappointment (0)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 2 years ago | (#35942618)

'cos you'd get a LOT more fat from rendering down the average American kid than you would from a chicken.

Only in terms of individual output. When you look at the net gain, it takes too long to grow the kid, and it costs an absurd amount to overfeed him.

Yes, think of all the chickens that kid would eat, chickens that could have been rendered directly into jet fuel. Not a very green solution.

I shudder to think that soon the whole world will smell like the alley behind Kentucky Duck.

Feed the homeless to the hungry and render the hungry for biofuel. FTFY

Regular, Unleaded, or ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35941616)

Will that be Regular, Unleaded, or Soylent Green?

Re:Disappointment (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939902)

Agreed. However this breakthrough means that in wartime the citizens will have to Eat for Victory to ensure a steady supply of raw materials, thus making war even more popular. It's a win-win situation really.

No, DC-8s are being used because (3, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939000)

it's on the orders of Xenu.

Re:No, DC-8s are being used because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939068)

it's on the orders of Xenu.

damn it nasa! I already have too many thetans

Re:No, DC-8s are being used because (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939284)

damn it nasa! I already have too many thetans

That's perfectly fine. Soon you, along with millions of other Americans, as well as all of your thetans, will be receiving an all expenses paid trip to Mars, the Red Planet, where you'll visit Olympus Mons. Once you're all settled in you'll all be treated to the fireworks display of a lifetime. *chuckle*

Re:No, DC-8s are being used because (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940816)

it's on the orders of Xenu.

Psychologists run NASA!

HAHA, sorry, I just can't keep a straight face.

For a Second There (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939008)

I thought it read "Tastes like Children" and was like "... how do they know...?" I'm glad the doubletake cleared THAT up...

Biofuel, just one more thing that tastes like chicken.

Re:For a Second There (1)

Petersson (636253) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939226)

I thought it read "Tastes like Children" and was like "... how do they know...?" I'm glad the doubletake cleared THAT up...

Biofuel, just one more thing that tastes like chicken.

Ever syphoned gas from neighbour's car gas tank? By mouth?

Re:For a Second There (1)

Sene (1794986) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939800)

I thought it read "Tastes like Children" and was like "... how do they know...?" I'm glad the doubletake cleared THAT up...

Biofuel, just one more thing that tastes like chicken.

Ever syphoned gas from neighbour's car gas tank? By mouth?

Would be more impressive to syphon by anus, but then of course you wouldn't taste anything...

1234 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939010)

Each friends everybody is good. Everyone knows I'm a football player. I like sports. I recently bought a pair of Vibram 5 Fingers, it's really nice shoes, why? When I wear it to play football when I feel very comfortable, and to protect our feet. I recommend you to see.
http://www.vibrams-5-fingers.com

Re:1234 (1, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940340)

Do you really think that a recommendation by an illiterate is going to make anyone more likely to buy your product? Oh well, another host goes into the hosts file so I don't accidentally buy anything from them ever.

Re:1234 (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 2 years ago | (#35942322)

I should point out the link is a cybersquat of the real manufacturer's website (note the curious extra 's' in "vibram") - almost certainly, that link is for a crappy chinese rip-off outfit. Vibram has had a great deal of problems with counterfit products of late, and this sort of crapvertisement is just another symptom. I don't care to see their brand cast into ill-repute by peddlers of fake goods. Use google if you want to find the real website.

"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (2)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939020)

Is it because this fuel packs more bang for the buck than traditional one, or is it because everyone wants to "feel" being green, even when trying to fly to other planets (and using all of 0.0000001% of world's "non-green" emissions of "whatever")? ;)

Just curious,

Paul B.

You never know, so take them all! (3, Insightful)

akkornel (1800252) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939050)

I'll be kindof surprised if this biofuel can provide the same amount of amount of energy as an equivalent amount of fossil fuel. I think the idea is more along the lines of research: You do not necessarily know what will work, so try many different things. Take what seems to work, and then allow them to play together! Each area takes a common standard, with built-in flexibility, and comes up with their local fuel variant that works best where they are, but can still play with vehicles made somewhere else. It may be a bit of a dream (or not), so you need research!

Re:You never know, so take them all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939134)

I think it's kind of more 'We have this many metric tonnes of beef and chicken fat, and since everybody wants their cuts lean anyways, let's see if we can make a higher profit market to allow us to clean them off while also raising the rates for our meat!'

But maybe that's just the cynical^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hoptimistic capitalist in me :)

Re:You never know, so take them all! (3, Informative)

rgbatduke (1231380) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939812)

Through the miracle of modern Google:
Chicken Fat: 16,873 BTU/pound
Fuel Oil #2: 19,237 BTU/pound

In fact, I got this from a study that was investigating the advantages of mixing various animal fats with fuel oil to eke the latter -- for example a blend of 1/3 chicken fat and 2/3 fuel oil. You will all be pleased to note that this mix has 18,223 BTU/pound and that chicken fat is readily miscible in fuel oil. By itself it has a moderate tendency to produce ash in the burning process, but this is mitigated in the mixture. Of course this study is investigating the burning of this sort of mix in furnaces, but the principle is the same and I'm guessing that this mix would work fine in any engine that could run on fuel oil #2. An acquaintance of mine already has experience with the standard treatment of animal fats into an acceptable biodiesel (which involves adding a bunch of stuff e.g. methanol and filtering it) and this works too, but is a bigger hassle than just filtering and mixing.

I also, of course, have the common experience of grilling fatty chicken with the skin still on, which can turn your entire grill into the moral equivalent of a rocket engine on short notice and "render" your chicken into little chunks of charcoal. There's plenty of energy in that fat, although less, as noted, than in standard grades of fuel oil. Alas, if untreated it is vulnerable to oxidation, a.k.a. "going rancid" and besides, however many chickens there are they are a lousy source of fat per se in terms of being able to provide a significant sustainable supply of biofuel. I suppose it is better to render the fat from the skins removed making skinless chicken parts, and better to remove this skin and fat than to eat it, but we're talking a drop in the bucket of energy demand.

BTW, "tallow" (saturated animal fats) are little different from more polyunsaturated chicken fat in energy content. They appear to produce less ash burning on their own (hence tallow candles) but more ash in a fuel oil blend. Pretty interesting, actually.

Children fat, however, was not listed. No doubt an oversight on the part of those conducting the study. Personally, I think that using children fat to power rock star tour buses and heat the homes of the elderly would cure the energy crisis in no time at all, as there is little that is wrong with this planet that wouldn't be seriously ameliorated by using up, say, 2-4 billion children (including some of the older children we sometimes refer to as "young adults") and dumping world mythologies in the process that encourage the unrestrained production of still more children. If we used children we could stay toasty warm in the winter and significantly reduce future demand on our limited energy reserves as well as every other fundamental scarcity created by the ongoing Malthusian disaster.

rgb

Re:You never know, so take them all! (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940830)

Children fat, aka depot fat, is well-studied. Here's a PDF [google.com] that compares various types of fat/lipid. Our fat is approximately 47% oleic acid and 24% palmitic - no wonder I love the Caribbean! Here's a PDF [google.com] of all sorts of details.

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (3, Insightful)

qubezz (520511) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939228)

Consider huge chicken rendering plants (the kind that make chicken nuggets etc), the kind that can load up a truck with green nasty chicken grease. As a purified lipid, it should have as much energy as vegetable oils. I would guess the grease would need to be cracked [wikipedia.org] to be something other than a bunker oil equivalent, since fat is solid at room temperature.

Interesting the value that we humans put on animal lives: Miles per chicken.

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (2)

sFurbo (1361249) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939734)

Fat is mainly esters of glycerol. Usually, fat is transesterified to methyl ester to make biodiesel. The methyl esters have much lower melting points, as their molecular weight is about one third of the glycerol esters. Biodiesel from animal fat is problematic, as turns to jelly at low temperatures. I don't know if DC-8s preheat the fuel, if they do, it shouldn't be a problem.

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#35941858)

"Interesting the value that we humans put on animal lives: Miles per chicken."

Chickens care even less except when it's their chick or in the case of roosters, one of their harem.

Chickens find chicken quite tasty, and though our domestic chickens are bred for docility kill each other now and then for nothing much.

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35942616)

Does that lead to a new rhetorical question: How many chickens does it take to cross the road?

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939386)

Well, jet fuel is almost kerosene. Which isn't too far removed from diesel in the scheme of things.

Which leads to my thought that vegetable oil or tallow based biodiesel is roughly similar in energy to petro-diesel, of course it has other issues, like viscosity in cold weather and such... but I believe it is only slightly less energy dense. (suppose it depends on the exact feedstock, I can't seem to find a solid number in a quick look, but looks like 5-10% less energy).

So, seems kinda gimmicky, as well, there are limited amounts of tallow out there... You can put chicken fat into slimjims, but you can't put diesel in them.

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#35941304)

The cold is the problem. Jets fly at high altitude to get their best fuel economy. It is really cold which actually helps with efficiency. Jet engines are after all heat engines. The greater the difference between the hot and the cold side of the engine more efficient it will be. diesle turns to wax in those conditions. Oh and the reason they are using the DC-8 are.
1. They got it cheap. DC-8s where retired from a lot of airlines about 20 years ago. They where then bought up cheap by cargo carriers and NASA.
2. They are actually pretty roomy so lots of room for test equipment.
3. They where re-engined with CFM-56 turbofans. The CFM-56 is a pretty modern engine much more so than the TF-33 on the B-52s. It is also a very common engine and is used on the 737, some Airbus aircraft, KC-135R, and a probably a lot more I don't know off the top of my head.
4. It has four engines. They will probably start the testing with only one engine using the Biofuel. if they have an engine out issue the plane will be reduced to only 75% of max vs 50% of max if a twin has an engine out.
5. It is already a flying laboratory.
   

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939922)

NASA does more than just space but also test beds advanced aeroflight concepts.

alternative fuel and production is a big thing for the military to help cut down supply lines.

Imagine aircraft carrier making their own fuel from seaweed and algee?

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940460)

Is it because this fuel packs more bang for the buck than traditional one, or is it because everyone wants to "feel" being green, even when trying to fly to other planets (and using all of 0.0000001% of world's "non-green" emissions of "whatever")? ;)

Just curious,

Paul B.

Actually, NASA has a very large and robust set of aeronautical research activities, that are largely unknown outside of the aviation community because either they generally aren't "cool" and "newsworthy" unless you're into planes. the aero research predates NASA back to the old NACA days.

While the green aspect is a good hook; the reran value is developing alternatives to fossil fuels as a price hedge. As the price of oil rises; alternatives become more desirable, even if they are less energy - compact, since they become price competitive to fossils. That acts as a natural break on the price of crude as well can actually cut the cost of the main product since byproducts now have greeter value and / or lower / no disposal costs.

I recall an article that mentioned free fry oil is becoming harder to find as companies spring up to collect and process it into fuels commercially; proving green becomes popular provided it's the right type of "green."

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35940696)

It is just cost. NASA and the armed forces go thru MANY tons of fuel per day. More types of fuel at a cheaper cost (maybe at some point) is just research they are doing. It isnt 'green' or anything. Just research into alternative fuels in case they can not get one of the others. In this case alternative doesnt mean what 'green people' have turned it into (buzz word). In gov parlance it means an 'alternate source' as in someone else we can get fuel from.

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940806)

Is it because this fuel packs more bang for the buck than traditional one, or is it because everyone wants to "feel" being green, even when trying to fly to other planets (and using all of 0.0000001% of world's "non-green" emissions of "whatever")? ;)

Just curious,

Paul B.

I'd rather bet it's because the Middle East became "an unreliable supplier" in a way CIA and whatever "war on concepts" can no longer fix.

Finger Lickin' (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940832)

Is it because this fuel packs more bang for the buck than traditional one, or is it because everyone wants to "feel" being green, even when trying to fly to other planets (and using all of 0.0000001% of world's "non-green" emissions of "whatever")? ;)

Just curious,

Paul B.

Don't you want your rocket to be finger lickin' good?

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35941804)

It's because everyone with half a clue realizes that the era of easy, simple to get hydrocarbons is over. We are now scrambling (at least those with a clue), to desperately keep our giant, planet-wide oil-driven infrastructure of transport and agriculture going. These are last ditch, feel good efforts. There arent' enough chickens on the planet to keep all the airlines going.

We are winding down our high-energy, profligate culture. Oh no, we'll have to bike to work! Even grow more of our own food!

Re:"all manner of biofuel alternatives"... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#35941942)

This has *nothing* to do with being green and everything to do with the USAF being worried about the availability of fuel.

Now if they can make napalm from that ... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939048)

checking out biofuel made from chicken and beef fat.

I love the smell of chicken and beef fat in the morning . . . it's the smell of victory!

If it burned human fat..... (3, Interesting)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939052)

If it burned human fat Jenny Craig Airlines with autoliposucting seats could have great rates and you get to your destination 50 lbs lighter!

Re:If it burned human fat..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939092)

With a (lack of) fuel surcharge for skinny and normal weight passengers.

Re:If it burned human fat..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939532)

I once calculated, that the energy stored in my fat, was 1.21 JIGGAWATTS for 0.8 seconds.
Now all I need, is a flux compensator, and some massive cooling. ;)

Re:If it burned human fat..... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 2 years ago | (#35941404)

That's 1.21 GJ for 0.8 seconds - a watt is a joule-second, so it'd be a mere 0.968 GW.

Re:If it burned human fat..... (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940474)

If it burned human fat Jenny Craig Airlines with autoliposucting seats could have great rates and you get to your destination 50 lbs lighter!

and we'd see "skinny people" surcharges...

Renewable?? You got to be kidding. (2)

scsirob (246572) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939142)

How can chicken fat be a viable renewable fuel? The energy has to come from somewhere. Corn can be turned into biofuel, but can also be fed to chickens. I can't imagine turning corn into chicken, and then into biofuel is a better way. Not in the least because of the fate of chickens.

Folkes, just because something from nature can be turned into a combustive substance does not mean it is renewable or green.

Re:Renewable?? You got to be kidding. (4, Insightful)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939158)

The idea is that you eat the chicken, and use the waste products for fuel. I don't think the plan is to set up chicken farms specifically to turn them into jet fuel.

Of course, the big question is how big the supply of waste products actually is. I would guess it's not all that big.

Re:Renewable?? You got to be kidding. (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939202)

Perhaps NASA will demand KFC go skin-free by 2015? :-) If the skin is the part of the chicken that retains the most oil when fried, the benefit to the consumer is a healthier product.

Re:Renewable?? You got to be kidding. (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940114)

Americans alone eat 60.4 pounds of chicken every year. I'd assume there would be plenty of fat as a byproduct to fuel a couple rockets.

Re:Renewable?? You got to be kidding. (2)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940740)

I was interested in making biodiesel at home a few years back, and I called all the restaurants in a small rural town near where I live. They were already getting paid for their waste oil. We're starting to see commercially produced biodiesel even in some smaller markets. It's very reasonable to suspect that most if not all commercially produced animal waste fat is already being consumed by the biodiesel market. The industry average for corn based ethanol [carbohydrateeconomy.org] is about a 40% energy gain, as the OP stated it's unbelievable that they'd get anywhere near that efficiency out of chicken harvesting. Peanuts can produce about 135 gallons of oil per acre, I wonder what the statistic for chickens would be like once one included the acreage to grow feed.

Re:Renewable?? You got to be kidding. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940882)

The idea is that you eat the chicken, and use the waste products for fuel. I don't think the plan is to set up chicken farms specifically to turn them into jet fuel.

Of course, the big question is how big the supply of waste products actually is. I would guess it's not all that big.

Should be enough to ship a cargo of low fat chicken meat/beef to KFC/Macas?

Re:Renewable?? You got to be kidding. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939160)

Folkes, just because something from nature can be turned into a combustive substance does not mean it is renewable or green.

You apparently underestimate the number of Americans who routinely "knock out the fat" with their George Foreman grills.

Re:Renewable?? You got to be kidding. (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939402)

You apparently underestimate the number of Americans who routinely "knock out the fat" with their George Foreman grills.

Well I've learnt something today ... I thought to "knock out the fat" was a euphemism for something else entirely.

Re:Renewable?? You got to be kidding. (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940500)

Bah, you think to small.

Take a small solar cell connected to a battery and a photoswitch running a light bulb near the chickens. The chickens eat the tasty insects drawn to the light. Add a little water and while you're waiting for the chickens to fatten up, you get eggs to eat with the corn you're no longer turning into biofuel. Additionally, the high-nitrogen chicken poop can be composted to fertilize the growing corn.

In addition to being tasty, chickens are definitely renewable. And chicken poop is frequently green.

Re:Renewable?? You got to be kidding. (1)

DrKnark (1536431) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940540)

My guess is the point of developing synthetic, or whatever you want to call it (I know there is work being done in synthesized fuel) jet fuel is to remove the dependency on oil (in military vehicles) in the event of future wars in the middle east. But I'm just guessing.

Tastes like chicken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939150)

Next you'll be saying crude oil "tastes like dinosaurs" because it's made from that.

Re:Tastes like chicken? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939504)

Next, they'll be making fuel additive from watermelon juice.

Uhh... (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939234)

> The DC-8 is used as a test vehicle because its engine operations are well-documented and well-understood, NASA says.

Does that mean engine operations for other jets are *not* well-documented and/or well-understood? That would be... troubling.

Re:Uhh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939308)

They are probably referring to the operation of other jet engines being classified to a higher level. DC-8s have been around a long time and are probably well documented and understood "by the enemy", so this research can be carried out at a lower level of classification.

Re:Uhh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939590)

You might be right not to mention newer Turbines might still be covered by IP like patents and trade secrets. But I thought at least part of the reason was that the DC-8 failure modes are all (In Theory at least) documented. Also the engine has probably log a lot of hours with lower grades of JET fuel then those used in 1st world countries because many DC-8 wound up in less discriminating hands when we gave up on servicing them. So NASA probably even knows about problems caused by poor quality fuel. Other thoughts are that the DC-8 turbine maybe used as standard model when teaching turbine design kind of like the 8088 CPU.

"Bio-diesel" (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939306)

Don't know about taste, but if you ever trailed old busted Mercedes diesel modified to burn used cooking oil (especially on the Berkeley-SF corridor), you know the abomination.

Re:"Bio-diesel" (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939952)

Abomination? It smells better than whatever the fuck they put in the new low-sulfur diesel, which FEELS volatile when you breathe the fumes in a way that diesel never did before. Easier to breathe, too.

NASA-TY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939328)

It tastes like chicken... but does it smell like fish?

Brilliant idea (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939356)

Train combustion engines to think of stuff that tastes like chicken as fuel. What could possibly go wrong?

Price (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939422)

So, they've decided to do to chicken what they've done for corn. Make it much more expensive than it currently is. Why do they feel the need to take inexpensive food and convert it to inefficient fuel? Corn was cheap and fed immeasurable numbers of poor people around the world, until they decided to inefficiently convert it to ethanol. Now they are going to take on the meat side of food production, and force the prices up there too. I guess they feel that there aren't enough starving people in the world yet.

All for the sake of "global warming", no wait, it's now "climate change", or whatever they've changed it to now. I still don't understand why burning 6+ gallons of ethanol is so much better for the climate than 1 gallon of gas. But I guess the subsidys buy plenty of votes, which is apparently the most important thing.

Re:Price (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939702)

Corn was cheap ... until they decided to inefficiently convert it to ethanol. ... I still don't understand why burning 6+ gallons of ethanol is so much better for the climate than 1 gallon of gas. ...

I think I can help here. The problem, as many see it, is that burning fossil fuels (the gas, or petrol/diesel/coal/'gas') is releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere. If you grow corn (or whatever) you are taking CO2 out of the atmosphere as it grows, then converting it (which won't be free) to something to burn (w00t: ethanol) and burning puts that CO2 back into the atmosphere - do you see yet? OK, I'll explain. Because the CO2 was extracted from the atmosphere by 'growing' before being put back by 'burning' there is no net increase in atmospheric CO2 (other than the cost of conversion). Burning fossil fuels, on the other hand, is dumping vast reserves of CO2 back into the atmosphere that were sequestered millennia ago, before the trouble started.

Hope that helps

Re:Price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35940720)

However, corn needs help to grow. Heavy machinery is needed to plant, harvest and process the corn. All of which require fuel. The fertilizer they use is also made using fuel. There are some that say that the amount of carbon that is required to grow and process the corn ends up being higher than the carbon that would have been released if we just used fossil fuels in the first place..

Re:Price (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940422)

There are so many things wrong with your post that I'm not sure where to start:

First, corn is only cheap in the USA because of the massive subsidies. It isn't cheap anywhere else, and in places where there are an abundance of poor people, it is not one of the major crops.

Secondly, biodiesel from corn is typically made from the inedible parts (which make up the majority of the plant, although outside the USA it's not economically feasible to make biofuels from corn, since you only get about a 1.1 EROI - elsewhere, other crops with much higher EROIs are used), so has little impact on the cost of the food. Food prices have shot up worldwide since around 2007 for one very simple reason: the USA granted Goldman Sachs an exemption from the normal requirements that the number of speculators in commodity markets should be smaller than the number of real producers and consumers. This led to huge amounts of commodity speculation and a bubble covering oil, food, and a number of other things. This bubble has not yet burst, though it probably will soon. .

Thirdly, they're using chicken fat. You know, the stuff that's left over after cooking. There is a huge amount of this surplus. There are entire companies that make money because they are paid to take the fat away in one place, and then paid for it as fuel in another place. The difference here is that they're turning it into a high-grade jet fuel rather than a low-grade diesel.

OK, I'm lost now. (2)

cheros (223479) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939490)

For years I have been reading that meat production is one of the major causes of the greenhouse effect (not talked about much, because it's politically easier to tax car drivers and industry than subsidised farmers).

What exactly is the point of using that production for fuel? Would it not be easier to simply reduce the chicken production instead? Or find a way to make turn other waste into fuel. Actually, if we could turn red tape into fuel we could probably stop drilling..

Re:OK, I'm lost now. (2)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939518)

TFA says the major concern is price, not ecological considerations. Apparently someone in the gubbermint is betting that chicken fat will be cheaper than kerosene in a decade or two.

Re:OK, I'm lost now. (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939542)

Thanks, that makes sort of sense (apologies about the double post, I got a site failure when I posted). There is, of course, the issue that there is always quite a bit of waste during meat production, but AFAIK we have food mountains too to keep prices up (depressing when there are so many people out of work on one side of the planet and people simply starving on the other side, but I digress).

Cheers.

Re:OK, I'm lost now. (2)

danlip (737336) | more than 2 years ago | (#35942396)

Beef and dairy production is a major cause of greenhouse gases because of cow farts - apparently they fart a lot and methane is worse than CO2. I don't think chickens would be as bad - you'd get some because they metabolize and breath out CO2, and you get some methane from the decay of manure (which can be captured and used), but it's less impact. And chickens have a much better input:output ratio caloric than cows.

But the main point is if the fat is being wasted anyway it's better to turn it into fuel. Anytime we can re-purpose part of the waste stream into something useful that's a good thing, provided we aren't deliberately creating waste.

OK, I'm lost now. (0)

cheros (223479) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939512)

For years I have been reading that meat production is one of the major causes of the greenhouse effect (not talked about much, because it's politically easier to tax car drivers and industry than subsidised farmers).

AFAIK biofuel is usually made of plants, so what does processing it through a chicken first add? Egg yoke? Would it not be easier to simply reduce the chicken production instead?

Actually, here is an idea: if we could turn red tape into fuel we could probably stop drilling altogether..

wholesale brand name handbags (0)

paulliu250 (2074216) | more than 2 years ago | (#35939528)

Train combustion engines to think of stuff that tastes like chicken as fuel. What could possibly go wrong?For years I have been reading that meat production is one of the major causes of the greenhouse effect (not talked about much, because it's politically easier to tax car drivers wholesale replica handbags [chinabrandstore.com]

Marxist bullshit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939742)

Neither chicken nor beef production are 'green' or 'eco friendly'. They both require huge inputs of energy and water to get out a given quantity of calories, compared to plant foods. Human beings are not supposed to eat meat, eggs, or cows' milk.
The fact that the idiots at NASA can't even begin to question 'what everyone else is doing' tells you how intelligent they are - not very.
They are even suggesting that long haul space flights have animals on board 'for meat'. Yeah, like that's a really efficient way of getting calories while in space...

Re:Marxist bullshit (2)

The Terminator (300566) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940116)

Neither chicken nor beef production are 'green' or 'eco friendly'. They both require huge inputs of energy and water to get out a given quantity of calories, compared to plant foods. Human beings are not supposed to eat meat, eggs, or cows' milk.
The fact that the idiots at NASA can't even begin to question 'what everyone else is doing' tells you how intelligent they are - not very.
They are even suggesting that long haul space flights have animals on board 'for meat'. Yeah, like that's a really efficient way of getting calories while in space...

Plainly bullshit, humans are omnivores and meat and eggs and milk are essential for our health, but at the same time vegetables are also.

birdstrikes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35939822)

now birdstrikes are called refuelling

Vegetarians / Vegans have a problem with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35940204)

Since they don't like to use animal products, will that mean they'd have to wait for the next flight?

Re:Vegetarians / Vegans have a problem with this? (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940538)

If you believe that petroleum oil is from dinosaurs, then they're already using animal products. I can't tell you how many vegetarians/vegans I've met that wear various articles of leather, feed their pets canned food (containing meat) and use other animal products. I try to point it out as often as possible.

So, let me see if I understand (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940296)

Instead of growing vegetables like Soy and Corn to get the oil, which can then trivially be turned into something akin to jet fuel, we're going to grow the vegetables, feed them to chickens first, and then kill the chickens and use their fat to make jet fuel?

Re:So, let me see if I understand (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940572)

We were going to kill and eat the chickens anyway. I'd rather see vegetables used for food, and unwanted chicken grease used for fuel than to see the grease poured down the drain and the vegetables poured into a fuel tank.

I've seen reports that show a net loss when converting vegetables directly into fuel. Government subsidies are they only reason it remains in practice.

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/July05/ethanol.toocostly.ssl.html [cornell.edu]

Re:So, let me see if I understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35942058)

Phase 3: Profit!

NASA's Going Gonzo! (1)

obergfellja (947995) | more than 2 years ago | (#35940834)

OMG! Gonzo is on NASA's board and he is trying to get back to his home planet. - reference: Muppets From Space.

Fight Club (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#35941054)

In Fight Club, they made soap from human fat.

But fat can also be made into bio-diesel with the addition of lye and methanol. (Lye is supposedly what Brad Pitt dropped onto Ed Norton's hand to make it burn).

So I'm assuming that they can collect all the waste product that goes into processed chicken plants (that's a lot, since the USA processes about 100 million chickens per day), add lye and methanol to the mix, and then process it further into some form of Kerosene, as that's what turbines (aka jet engines) tend to burn, although it could also be methane.

But if it was Methane, they could get it easier from Pig shit than from chicken fat, so I'm betting they found a way to "crack" the biodiesel into Kerosene.

Frozen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35941968)

Did they remember to thaw the chicken this time?

Finally, chickens that fly! (1)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | more than 2 years ago | (#35942418)

Powering jets with chickens... I don't want to alert the irony police or anything but that's gotta be ironical!

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