Rancid Butter Sculptures: A Great Untapped Biofuel Source?

By Joseph Calamia | August 10, 2010 11:24 am

buttersculptureA Benjamin Franklin adage: If your head is wax, don’t walk in the sun. In a sculpture for the Pennsylvania Farm Show, Franklin’s head was butter. Now it’s biofuel.

Butter Franklin was one of several fat sculptures, an annual presence at the fair. After the 2007 farm show, USDA biochemist Michael J. Haas suggested that fair organizers should convert the rancid sculpture into biofuel, The New York Times reports.

BlackGold Biofuels took on the task, which involved replacing glycerin in the butter with a methanol molecule to form biodiesel. Franklin proved that 800 pounds of butter saved is 75 gallons of biodiesel fuel and lower-grade bunker fuel earned.

The company’s real mission is to convert agricultural waste, not edible butter, into fuel, since butter is fairly costly to produce. As BlackGold executive Emily Landsburg told the The New York Times, dismantling the founding father was “not a typical day at the office.” The butter-to-biofuel pathway probably won’t catch on, Landsburg said, because “the number of rancid butter sculptures in the U.S. is probably not significant.”

Related content:
Discoblog: All Aboard the Beef Train–Amtrak Debuts a Train Running on Beef Biofuel
Discoblog: Dr. 90210 Powers SUV with Liposuctioned Fat
Discoblog: Finally! A Self-Sustaining, Sewage-Processing, Poop-Powered Rocket
Discoblog: This Poop Mobile Could Get All Its Energy From 70 Homes’ Worth of Methane

Image: flickr / pwbaker

  • http://sacrilicio.us Matunos

    “the number of rancid butter sculptures in the U.S. is probably not significant.”

    I don’t know. Have they contacted John Boehner’s office to see if he’s available?

  • http://Untitledvanityproject.blogspot.com Rhacodactylus

    An 800 pound butter sculpture . . .have you ever seen something so necessary.

  • http://www.algaebiodieselproduction.com Chi Wong

    Another great article. Keep up the good work :)


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