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BBC NEWS – Pig fat to be turned into diesel

I’m not sure what to say. Chatting to a friend over the weekend about biodiesel we were debating whether the water cost (for growing the crops as biomatter) would become as problematic as the carbon cost – especially following an interesting article in the RSA journal a month or so ago about how some food practices “export” the water impact from rich countries to poor. The article, entitled “Water Fight” notes that “it takes 11,000 litres to grow the feed for enough cow to make a hamburger, and between 2,000 and 4.000 litres for that cow to fill its udders with a litre of milk”.

That’s quite a thought – especially for a Londoner with the drought conditions of last summer still in mind.

Leaving aside the rather unpleasant thought of smouldering pig-fat emanating from the exhaust pipe, I wonder whether the overall impact of raising more swine – with the cost in foodstuffs, slurry, the electricity or gas to render the corpses and other cheery thoughts – will actually end up being more sustainable than burning old trees or non-oinking biomass.