Gallery: First Train Fueled by Beef Biodiesel Hits the Rails in Texas


The nation’s first commuter train using a cleaner renewable biodiesel fuel blend launched yesterday as Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer chugged from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Fort Worth, Texas on a blend of diesel and a beef byproduct. The fuel is a B20 blend — 20% biofuel and 80% diesel — and the Heartland Flyer will be conducting a 12-month study on the effects of the fuel on the train’s emissions, mechanics and performance. Officials are hoping the ride will prove just as enjoyable for passenger’s while saving Amtrak fuel costs and the environment some harmful emissions.

Renewable fuels such as biodiesel are perfect examples as they combine our state’s two leading industries, agriculture and energy, to come together and create this tremendous asset for Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach as the train pushed off on its morning route yesterday. The 12-month experiment is being funded by the Federal Railroad Administration with a $274,000 grant to test the efficacy of biofuels in train travel.

But veggies and vegans beware — if you stick to your guns about animal meat you might not want to board this train. Although the Amtrak officials aren’t specifying what exactly is in their biofuel it is most likely made from beef fat provided by the beef industry — which we all know is one of the most polluting industries on earth. So why Amtrak has chosen a beef byproduct instead of a less harmful biofuel like algae, we’re not sure. We commend the thought behind their actions and hope that they are using something other than fat to fuel their tests.

+ Amtrak

Via The Mother Nature Network


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  1. aligatorhardt August 6, 2010 at 10:44 am

    While I understand the concern over agri-business pollution and use of resources, there are large amounts of waste products in the meat business. Bone, skin, excess fat is left over from meat production and is often ground up to be dried and added to hog and chicken feed. If these waste products were used for fuel that would be ok. I would prefer plant based sources, but use of waste is better than throwing it out. If we want to reduce meat production, the best way is to stop buying it. Bio-diesel is an important resource to get us off petroleum with vehicles that are not easily converted to electric.

  2. Mulpuzo April 27, 2010 at 4:37 am

    I agree.

    The meat industry and bio fuel – neither should be considered “green” in their own right. While the production of biofuel could be considered green in countries with actual laws like the States, – most is produced in cheaper places like Indonesia (where the government has been trying to get the UN to call their palm oil plantations “forests” – with no wildlife. And any real “green” person knows that meat industry is one of the major sources of advancing climate change. This has even been agreed upon by the UN:

    I hope initiatives like these are seen for what they really are.

  3. sheeep April 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Is this really a “cleaner” energy? Containing 80% of diesel and the rest comes from environmentally and animal rightfully the most nasty industry – I can only see this as another green washed reality of the US where anything that sounds “green” is “good”.

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