Raleigh — North Carolina State University researchers are developing a system to convert animal fat into an alternative fuel.
The researchers have partnered with an Arizona-based energy company to produce a fuel they have dubbed Centia, which they said is the Latin equivalent of "green power."
Unlike ethanol and some other alternative fuels, Centia requires no fossil fuels in the production process, said Henry Lamb, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.
"Our process would convert animal fat, lard for example, from pig processing into a usable fuel," Lamb said. "I grew up on a hog farm in Sampson County, so absolutely I'm very familiar with hog production."
Lamb said triglycerides are converted into fatty acids, which are treated in a reactor to produce hydrocarbons.
Bill Roberts, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, said the process also would be more efficient for hog farmers.
"Animals that die on the farm, farmers typically pay to have them crated away and burned or buried. We can use those and turn them into jet fuel," Roberts said.
The researchers said they want to start at the top of the fuel chain with jets, then move their way down to biodiesel and eventually biofuel for cars.
More than 17 billion gallons of jet fuel are used in the U.S. each year. The researcher said that, if they can replace that jet fuel with Centia, more crude oil would be available for gasoline production, which could lead to lower prices for drivers.
A gallon of unleaded regular gas in the Triangle costs $2.17.
The researchers said they hope to have their first batch of Centia on the market in about a year and a half.
A new analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates that a toxic chemical in rocket fuel has severely contaminated the nation's food and water supply (read the Environmental Working Group study here).
Scientists warn that the chemical, known as perchlorate, could cause thyroid deficiency in more than 2.2 million women of childbearing age.
This thyroid deficiency could damage the fetus of pregnant women, if left untreated. Perchlorate, the explosive ingredient in solid rocket fuel, has leaked from military bases and defense and aerospace contractors' plants in at least 22 states, contaminating drinking water for millions of Americans.
Despite massive complaints, defense contractors such as Kerr-McGee have done little or nothing to clean up the pollution. Perchlorate has also been widely detected in milk, lettuce, produce and other foods. In an alarming study, the CDC found perchlorate in the urine of every person tested. The OCA has mobilized thousands of organic consumers to pressure the EPA and government officials to begin a massive clean up of perchlorate for over a year.
The government funded NAS report reveals that perchlorates are roughly ten times more toxic to humans than the Department of Defense has been claiming. Perchlorates can inhibit thyroid function, cause birth defects and lower IQs, and are considered particularly dangerous to children.
The Pentagon is urging Congress to pass a new law that would allow the military to freely violate a host of environmental regulations. Entitled "The Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative," the legislation would allow military facilities to ignore laws like the Clean Air Act. The Pentagon claims environmental regulations are a threat to national security, since they restrict the military.
To date, only one Senator has had the backbone to propose legislation that would hold the military (and other perchlorate polluters) responsible for this excessive pollution of the U.S. food and water supply.
Senator Feinstein (CA) has proposed legislation that would spend $200 million to identify and clean up perchlorate sources and provide grants for technologies to clean up existing contamination, while holding perchlorate polluters responsible for cleanup efforts.
"It is imperative that we reduce the perchlorate in our drinking water and protect Californians, especially pregnant women, the unborn, infants, and young children from this threat to their health," said Feinstein of the bill.
What did you eat yesterday? Bradley Saul, a former pro-cyclist and founder of Organic Athlete, stopped in Tucson last week to talk about his organization and told me what he had munched on that day: half of a case of strawberries, two heads of lettuce chopped into a salad, some oranges and about 50 small dates.
The tall and lean but strong-looking cyclist is a vegan, and a raw foodist. He promotes organic living for athletes to ensure personal and environmental health. (Being a raw foodist who eats only whole foods, he doesn't touch things like whole wheat bread or tofu, but will eat some brown rice in a pinch, he says.)
Chowing down on a few heads of lettuce for lunch and avoiding all cooked and processed foods sounds a little extreme, but the principles of his vegan raw food diet are based on eating whole, organic foods that provide the vitamins, minerals and fiber that we all strive for in our diets.
Everyone's first question: Where do you get your protein?
"Where don't you get protein if you're eating whole foods?" said Saul, who started Organic Athlete when he was living in Tucson in 2003 and now resides in California.
"Human mother's milk has only 5 to 6 percent of its calories from protein. And that's for babies growing at a much more rapid rate than we are. We get enough protein if we eat whole foods, fruits and vegetables." He eats nuts and seeds in small amounts because they're high in fat.
Fruits and vegetables have a bit of protein per calorie — some more than others — so as long as you're eating whole foods, you can't not get enough protein, Saul says. These foods aren't as high in protein as meat, of course, but that protein is more difficult to digest, according to Saul.
But this guy isn't just munching on heads of lettuce and lounging on the couch — he's an athlete. Doesn't he need supplements or a chicken breast once in awhile?
He doesn't use supplements when he races, and when he recently ran a marathon he just ate dates for fuel during the 26.2-mile race. "I was fine."
I can't even imagine a long run without chocolate energy gel, but Saul's minimalism is inspiring.
Celery blended up in water provides the precious electrolytes athletes are always fretting over, although Saul says he really doesn't worry about whether he gets enough electrolytes.
"I used to come out of a race all covered in salt. I'm not like that anymore," he said. "Since I've started this, I can say my recovery times are better. I wake up in the morning ready for the day, and I don't need stimulants or caffeine to keep me going."
He says he went through a transition period for a few months, moving from vegetarianism to veganism (no animal products at all), to eating raw, organic foods.
"I had always known fruits and vegetables were the healthiest food and I ate a lot of them, but I had never heard of people that just ate them," Saul said with a laugh.
Now he does, although he was raised on "traditional American food — but all made from scratch," and his mother still eats the way she did when he was growing up.
"We had homemade birthday cakes, meat and potatoes. His friends were eating a lot of processed foods, but I just made everything from scratch. It wasn't necessarily healthy, though," said Molly Savitz.
"I'm surprised at how simple what he does is," said Savitz, of South Carolina, who will prepare food for as many as 700 cyclists at one of the Tour d'Organics race, put on by her son, this year.
I'm a vegetarian, and Saul's principles of eating lots of fruit and veggies appeal to me — but I'm not giving up my organic tofu any time soon. What I am going to glean from his purist lifestyle is a focus on organic produce, locally grown foods and choosing nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables over processed snacks.
I have always been a
strong proponent of a
future united, federal
Europe - a single
European country, as a
more progressive, liberal
counterpoint towards the
current U.S. hegemony and
towards the upcoming
powers of China, India
and Russia. And I feel...
The sun in the North is a
temporary guestWho brings
with him much warmth and
light when he comesFor a
few precious months every
year he keepsUs company
through night and day He
makes the trees green, he
makes flowers bloomHe
makes the birds sing, and
The largest genocide in
human history happened
where? Most people would
answer Germany, and the
Actually though, the
largest genocide happened
in the USA, with the
native American Indians,
with estimates of 19
million to 100 millio...
Radiation Study; Tokyo
Hayno, R.S., et al
of Adults and Children 7
to 20 Months After the
Fukushima NPP Accident as
Measured by Extensive
Surveys, Proc. Jpn....
accumulates in water
supplies after nuclear
bioconcentrates in fish
that live in fresh water
and salt water. Runoff of
fresh water from land
which has been
contaminated ends up
contaminating oceans, and
66 Atomic Bombs were
exploded on the Bikini
Island Atolls. Hundreds
of islanders were removed
from the islands, but not
from harms way. One
hydrogen bomb exploded
near the islands, and the
children played with the
dust from the bomb, as it
"Under our current law,
a suspected terrorist on
the FBI's No-Fly List
can't board an airplane
-- but they can still
legally purchase guns and
This loophole, known
Germany added more
solar panels in one
month, than the US did in
ONE YEAR. Nearly 1/3 of
Germany power output is
handled by bottoms up
solar energy during the
middle of the day. The
transition to a 100%
renewable energy nation
is in process. T...