Butter Could Run Cars?

A recent study into the potential use of surplus butter has stated there is a possibility it could be used to make biodiesel fuel. Biodiesel is a fuel typically made from soy bean oil, or waste vegetable oils. In this case, butter is an animal product, but the amount of spoiled butter and stored butter that is inedible is large enough to consider it as a source of biodiesel fuel. For those who are not at all familiar with biodiesel, it is for use in diesel engine vehicles only. One of biodiesel’s main advantages is that it burns more cleanly, thus producing less air pollution. According to the State Energy Conservation Office in Texas, “the use of biodiesel fuel results in much lower emissions of almost every pollutant: carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide (one of the main causes of acid rain), particulates, carbon monoxide, air toxins and unburned hydrocarbons.”

American researchers found the surplus butter they studied could produce oil that on its own would not meet current biodiesel quality standards, but it could be used to blend with existing biodiesel. They also found with more purification to remove extra sulfur content, that butter might have a standalone potential as a biodiesel fuel stock.

Another advantage of biodisel is that it is far less toxic than gasoline, and does not come from a marine environment where it can create tremendous damage to marine wildlife, like offshore crude oil drilling does. The United States is committed to the production of a total of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022. The current level is reportedly 11 billion gallons annually. (Just to be clear, corn ethanol is one of those biofuels, and is the one most in production.) Switchgrass, corn stover and algae are other potential sources of biodiesel currently being investigated.


Michel P.
Past Member 6 years ago

will it make them fat ?

Jane H.
Jane H.6 years ago

Why is there an over abundance of butter? This seems to be the issue when we have people in this country who can't afford it. I don't think butter is a practical solution. As been pointed out - it is an animal product and there is no need to encourage it's production for such reason. Donate it to the various food kitchens and organizations around the world that help feed the hungry and homeless. Switchgrass on the other hand might be something worth looking into. Interesting article none the less.

Mike Masley
Michael Masley6 years ago

good article

Linda Gannon
Linda Gannon6 years ago

Animal agriculture is the #1 cause of global warming! And you want to increase dairy production to run automobiles, please!

Graham N.
Graham N.6 years ago

Agree, Linda - butter as a bio fuel just doesn't sound right!

It's worth remembering, I think, that isn't necessarily "more" green than fossil fuels, as the hunger for it equals .... hunger as food crops are replaced with bio fuel ones. Folk may also like to remember that much (possibly most) of the land used for grazing milk cows could feed many more people if vegetables were grown on it.

Graham N.
Graham N.6 years ago

Jake R. Your argument is akin to that used for justifying the leather industry - using up waste products from the meat and dairy industry, and I'm not happy with that, either! :o) However, there is no economic excuse for a surplus of butter. If there is too much of it, then there is over production, and that pollutes, it wastes money, energy, milk and .... it means more cows must suffer who needn't have done. The solution is not to use the surplus butter but cut back on the size of milking cow herds.

Marianne Good
Past Member 6 years ago

thank you for sharing

Peggy P.
Peggy Pless6 years ago

at age 81 i have seen and heard a lot. nothing surprises me anymore. I do know GOD provided everything that could be used for something. i love butter. don't care for other milk products. wouldn't use margarine if it was free. use margarine for fuel.

Linda L.
Linda L.6 years ago

Thinking of butter as a biofuel just doesn't sound right.

Jake R.
Jake R.6 years ago

Graham, I can appreciate what you are saying. My personal diet does not include dairy milk. However, in this case, the butter has already been made. The issue is if it can be used, rather than disposed of.