Meat Fat Will Become Fuel

A joint venture between Tyson Foods and Syntroleum is investing $150 million for a plant that will convert beef tallow and pork and chicken fat into diesel fuel. Once operational, the goal is to produce 75 million gallons of animal fat-based biofuel each year. Located at Geismar, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge the plant could employ about 300 workers.

The feedstock for the fuel production will come from slaughterhouses across the country to make a fuel that has been said to contain less particulate matter, meaning it should generate less air pollution. It also can be used in standard diesel engines.

Considering the fact about nine to ten billion farms animals are killed for consumption in the United States each year, there should be an ample supply of animal fats for such a plant. The U.S. uses about 58 billion gallons of diesel fuel each year, but 75 million gallons is less than two percent of that total. Will it make a difference?

It might be beneficial to the Louisiana economy if it turns out to be a sustainable business. Air pollution wherever the fuel is used will likely also be reduced but at this point it isn’t clear how much. It was announced recently the plant already has an agreement to supply their diesel fuel to a railroad company to run trains, “We look forward to working with Norfolk Southern to lower their emissions and increase the renewable content of the fuel they burn. Renewable diesel is a sustainable, ultra clean burning, high cetane fuel that reduces carbon emissions and significantly reduces particulates and NOx when combusted in existing diesel engines,” said a Syntroleum official. (Source: PRNewswire)

One question arises though – wouldn’t it be better to be able to make fuel at or near the slaughterhouses in different parts of country rather than burning conventional fuel during transport to Louisiana to make a form of biodiesel?

Image Credit: FotoosvanRobin, Wiki Commons


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KS Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Matt Robinson
Matt Robinson6 years ago

Great news on the sustainability front for the western hemisphere: USA produced biodiesel is increasingly coming from rendered animal fats – 20% in 2008 to over 30% in 2009 (see the National Renderers Association). Canada is ahead of us because of the 2003 Mad Cow Disease and 2005 Bird Flu – 90% of Canadian biodiesel comes from animal fat. I am thrilled to discover the market is growing fast toward the best fuel for today’s engines.

This is fantastic use of a waste product.

Sheri P.
Sheri P6 years ago

if people won't give up killing and eating animals at least find a use for the byproducts...that would be one small positive thing.

Jay Williamson
Jay w6 years ago

if animals have to be slaughtered for market then at least the fats are going to be used to create something sustainable. I would be concerned however if the numbers of animals being slaughtered was to increase due to demand for sustainable fuel.

Salina L.
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Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

As long as it's NOT to further abuse animals... I try to buy cruelty free meats, and free range, etc. So, if the animals are allowed to be what ever animal they are, and we are just utilizing the whole part, then fine. But, to inject these animals with more hormones and feed them foods to fatten them up just to make the extra buck is morally & ethically wrong, and ought to be illegal.

sara taylor
Sara Veit6 years ago

It is better to use all parts of an animal rather than waste some. However, raising that animal well and using it locally would be even better still!

C.M Padget
Carolyn Padget6 years ago

If it is just using the excess , that might be okay. But if it seems to me that eventually they would be wanting to slaughter just for the fat, which would be wrong.

Deborah F.
Deborah F6 years ago

Next, we'll go back to WWII days and use waste fats for explosives.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

Thanks for this great article.