Dr. 90210 Powers SUV with Liposuctioned Fat

By Nina Bai | December 30, 2008 9:34 am

lipofatA Beverly Hills liposurgeon has been accused of using his patients’ liposuctioned fat to fuel his and his girlfriend’s SUVs. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this story is that no one came up with the lipo-fat-as-fuel idea before.

Give Dr. Alan Bittner this: He was never secretive about what happened to the leftover liposuction fat from his practice, Beverly Hills Liposculpture.  According to Forbes.com, he even ran a Web site dedicated to human fat fuel.  On the now defunct lipodiesel.com, Bittner wrote, “The vast majority of my patients request that I use their fat for fuel—and I have more fat than I can use… Not only do they get to lose their love handles or chubby belly but they get to take part in saving the Earth.”

Experts say animal fat is just as good as vegetable fat and a gallon of either will get you about the same mileage as a gallon of regular diesel.  The only caveat is that animal fat requires an additional processing step to remove free fatty acids.  Due to a recent surge in soybean oil prices, biodiesel manufacturers say that over half of this year’s biodiesel came from animal sources, such as pig lard.  Other new sources of biofuel include turkey feathers (see the DISCOVER story Anything Into Oil), coffee grounds, pond scum, and rainforest fungus.

Despite Bittner’s green intentions, using human medical waste as fuel is illegal under California law.  And Bittner appears to have other problems on his hands too.  His lipodiesel activities only came under investigation after several patients sued him for allowing his assistant and his girlfriend to perform liposuction procedures without medical licenses.  The patients say too much fat was removed from them—perhaps Bittner was too greedy for fuel—leaving them disfigured.

Bittner has since closed up shop and left the country to pursue “volunteer activities” in South America. Check out patient testimonials on his Web site, complete with post-lipo photos of patients + Bittner holding lots of fat.

Related Content:
DISCOVER: Anything Into Oil
DISCOVER: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Recycling, including the boat Earthrace, which was powered partly by liposuctioned fat and set the record for fastest circumnavigation of the globe.
DISCOVER: Anything Into Ethanol
80beats: Algae-Filled Greenhouses Aim to Take in CO2 and Turn out Biofuel
80beats: Deep in the Jungle, A Fungus Pumps Out Diesel From Wood

Image: iStockphoto

MORE ABOUT: biofuel, fat, liposuction
  • Jumblepudding

    The next step should have been to sell these patients’ fat back to them as a cheap fuel alternative, and credit Chuck Palahniuk with the idea.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/ Uncle Al

    Triglycerides at room temp or below are too viscous for SOP diesel injectors. Glycerol flash pyrolyzes to acrolein – an organoleptic very, very bad idea. Transesterification with methanol and alkali gives 90 wt-% fatty acid methyl esters (acceptable fuel), 10 wt-% glycerol and alkali waste (EPA priority hazardous waste regulatory opportunity). Lye is made by electrolysis – byproduct of chlor-alkali chlorine. Wherefrom the incremental gigawatt-hrs of electicity? Let’s recycle national lye wastes!

    That a fuel exists is not the point. One must subtract energy inputs from final output. An energy economy based upon agricultural feedstocks is an idiot’s White paper. Corn yields 18 gal/acre biodiesel. Oil palm yields 635 gal/acre biodiesel. Depopulate, filled in, then plant the whole of Louisiana with oil palm (630 mi^2 Lake Lake Pontchartrain takes one for the team, as do all the other puddles). Supply ~30% of the nation’s diesel fuel with a 20 year ramp-up to full production plus energy payback for setup. How is that a solution?

    Agricultural outputs could be increasd 50-fold using the same land area: gene-gineer one plant enzyme. Governments across the planet are punctilious in assuring such research never succeeds,


  • Charles Downey

    You’ve missed the whole point! Dr. Bittner is a radiologist, not a plastic surgeon. He took a weekend course somewhere on how to do the procedure and then started supervising five (yes, count ’em: FIVE) physician assistants who were doing the actual liposucting. Gave new meaning to the blind leading the blind.

    Dr. Bittner was investigated due to the complaints of hundreds (if not,thousands) of injured, scarred patients who — guess what? — had botched procedures.

    Now tell me something: The doc drove a Ford S.U.V. Does that come in a diesel engine?

  • Pingback: » Powering Cars with Human Fat!()

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  • Leitzu

    I read the letter on his website and I think he is lying about starting his career in Bogata, Columbia because the city is actually called Bogota and the country is Colombia. Anyway, they should catch him before he leaves the country and puts more lives in danger.

  • http://Sparkpeople Linda

    I am sure that alot of fat people would gladly give away their fat for fuel. I would do it in a heart beat. I can’t afford liposuction but would love for my belly to disappear and am willing to donate my fat for fuel I’m sure others feel the same way

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  • Jesse

    It seems that people are forgetting the “real” danger of using medical waste without permits or supervision from the Health Dept.— infection control. Whether converting fat to fuel is a viable idea, this physician blatantly disregarded Infection 101 (despite the fact that he attended Johns Hopkins, UCLA and Stanford). This physician has a history of making grandiose, false statements to further his financial goals (look up Ameriscan). I think that was the main goal of his biodiesel.org site-
    to increase his exposure to attract more liposuction patients to his chop-shop. (why he would think someone would see this website of him holding out a “cake pan” full of melted fat and flock to his clinic!!!)

  • bittnervictim

    Talk about REALLY missing the point…

    Having ONLY Bittner examine you and promising a permanent smooth result, being drugged first and then having a very unlicensed person start pumping you full of fluid, then having just a P.O. from an orthopedic office (news found out afterwards), who has NEVER seen what you looked like before being pumped with liters of fluid start aggressively jabbing you with a cannula with a “one size fits all” mentality, it is a wonder that anyone left that office with any positive result!!!

    Bittner fled the country just after having search warrants served by the Ca State Medical Board to have his office files, computers, and much more taken out of his office and after having his home and cars searched. Are you still wondering if he has anything to hide??????

  • sarah

    i would like to donate my fat for free if you can have the op done

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  • http://www.hockey-skates.org/ Hockey Skates

    I don’t understand how we bought by 15 years in the past with simply magazines and newspapers.

  • Dan

    My wife could fill his tank.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/3PY3H4S52IA6BP6XTJSRD2CPDU BBW Chaser

       Then you’re a lucky bastard who ill stay warm on those cold nights. Chubby wives are awesome!

  • danwat1234

    What an innovative idea.


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