04 Jan 2008 04:01:46
Chicken fat may fuel cheap biodiesel growth
Chicken fat may represent a cheap and plentiful source of biofuel, with the potential to make the fuel a rival to traditional petrol, scientists have claimed.
A team from the University of Arkansas discovered a simple chemical process allowing them to derive biodiesel from chicken fat both quickly and with minimal waste.
The process, known as supercritical methanol treatment, involved subjecting the fat to both high temperatures and pressure, and proved significantly more successful than previous efforts to produce economically viable biofuel.
"Biodiesel provides an effective, sustainable-use fuel with many desirable properties," said Brent Schulte, a student at the university.
"In addition to being a renewable, biodegradable and carbon-neutral fuel source, it can be formed in a matter of months from feedstocks produced locally, which promotes a more sustainable energy infrastructure."
Currently the majority of biodiesel production is undertaken using sources such as soybean and rapeseed oil, accounting for over half the cost of the fuel's production.