Sarah Parsons

Sweden is Burning Biofuel Made from Bunnies

by , 10/19/09
filed under: Renewable Energy

sustainable design, green design, energy, bunny biofuel, alternative fuel, waste reduction

Scientific American recently reported that Sweden uses a pretty strange source for some of its heating fuel: rabbits. Stockholm has an overabundance of the cotton-tailed critters, and the hungry bunnies are decimating city parks. To cut back on bunny populations and create a greener source of heating fuel for Swedes, city employees round up the rabbits, shoot them, freeze them and then ship them to a heating plant where they’re incinerated. And yes, the thought of it makes our soul hurt, too.

sustainable design, green design, energy, bunny biofuel, alternative fuel, waste reductionPhoto by Shellylyn

While killing animals to use them for fuel is rather uncommon, using animal byproducts to make biofuels happens pretty regularly. Swedish company Konovex creates the bunny-based fuel, but that plant is a subsidiary of Danish company Daka Biodiesel, which makes automotive and heating fuels from vegetable and animal oils and fats. Sweden often uses slaughterhouse trimmings to create a methane-based biogas that powers taxicabs in the southern part of the country. And even the US is getting into the animal-based biofuel market: ConocoPhillips partnered with Tyson to make biofuel from chicken and pork fats that would otherwise be added into pet foods, cosmetics or soaps.

Biofuels can be made from a variety of animal fats, including fat from humans (though of course, this is illegal. We can’t help but wonder whether green funerals will start incorporating this practice into its burial methods, though!). And while it’s stomach-turning to think of it, using animal byproducts or slaughterhouse waste to create eco-friendly biofuels actually seems pretty innovative. Killing Peter Rabbit to heat your home seems a little brutal to us, though. We may be in the midst of an energy crisis, but we’re also experiencing a global food crisis. Wouldn’t eating the rabbits be a little more savory than burning their frozen carcasses?

Der Spiegel via Scientific American

Lead photo by Blutiger

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12 Comments

  1. Foxywooro December 10, 2011 at 7:39 am

    I fully agree with author opinion.

  2. tornol July 13, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Hello to everybody, I’ll be staying here for a while :D

  3. d.k. December 21, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Though I am not opposed to a little bit of roast rabbit from time to time, there are several good uses for bunnies other than wholesale slaughter. I had 28 rabbits when I lived out west. Now back in the south, my state is having a problem similar to Sweden’s. Released pet rabbits are multiplying, like, well, rabbits. There are currently at least 80 bunnies “up for adoption” at the local pet shelter. However, the bad news is that many of these same 80 bunnies have been living at the shelter for all of the 3 years since they were rounded up with nowhere to go— not because people aren’t willing to adopt, but because shelter expectations AND their prices are rediculously high.

    Furthermore, our shelter, much like Sweden apparently, doesn’t realize what a great resource they have in their rabbits, and how to make good use of LIVE bunnies while they have them.

    I called the shelter, since they had all these bunnies, not to adopt (because I knew I wouldn’t qualify at present anyway.) but, to find out they had any rabbit manure for sale. You see, I am trying to landscape a property where the soil is shot, and I know from experience with my own rabbits the value of bunnie manure to such a project.

    Not only didn’t they have any to offer (how is that possible?) they apparently had never even considered the possibility of merchandising bunnie manure to help support the shelter! I was positively astonished. With a little ingenuity, and just the 80 rabbits they have, they could probably green and blossom half the county around here, and put a sizeable dent in the shelter’s ongoing budget shortfall.

    If Sweden is so interested in going green, why aren’t they using bunny manure from their rabbit round-up for good– to make organic fertilizers and to make biogas, instead of rendering bunnie corpses.

  4. rev October 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    If they are going to kill a good source of food, why not deliver the frozen bunnies to the homeless shelters for food? Better to eat them if you have to kill them. The small amount of energy for fuel would be better put to use fueling a human.

  5. svenrox October 22, 2009 at 5:04 am

    This happened in New Zealand years back. The rabbits got out of control. The gov’t issued a ‘kill strategy’ to reduce numbers. They were killed by the 1000s. But numbers didn’t reduce. The multiply faster than you can say “pregnant”. So they decided to let them be. And the Law of Nature took care of it. Nature kept them at a certain number, and they naturally never exceded that amount.

    But here’s the interesting part of all this: “Thou shalt not kill” has been a tenant in all religious doctrine since the dawn of time. Why? Because it’s integrally connected to the law of Kamma (Cause and Effect). So depending on the mental volition of those doing the killing of Sweden’s bunnies, there could be “hell to pay” in terms of bad karma and future bad luck and a miserable life. “Though shalt not kill” does not just mean humans. It even means mosquitoes- all life.

    How do I know? It’s my business to know. I offer spiritual sessions that fix anything, and this is a major part of it. Good luck, and peace be with you all- especially the bunnies. There must be other options.

    Jan Tijmes
    The John Positive Co.
    www. JohnPositive .com

  6. Kadek Ayu Susiani Dewi October 21, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    I think, killing bunnies for the reason of decreasing their population and in order to produce energy from these kinds of creatures is does not arguable. There is no research been conducted yet, to count how much energy / bio fuel can be generated. There will be raise another problem such as ; how to manage or bury the dead body of the rabbits, and problems with balancing of nature. Beside, the energy consumption to freeze and to process those creatures to gain energy might be higher instead of just let them in their nature habitat. If the population is over populated, mobilize them into an unfilled area far from the city centre might be a reasonable solution.
    On the other hand, I fully agree that new alternative clean energy sources must be considered. However, better utilize another natural source such as the sunshine or seawater electricity, wind power, water turbine, biogas (from cattle exceed), or maximize plants (sunflower as a source of bio clean energy), instead of killing any other creatures. It is make human as Barbaric…!

  7. isitgreen October 21, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I agree it is a manmade mess. This situation wouldnt have risen if humans had not invaded the land for many of the food chain animals. Rabbits reproduce in high numbers, but were always a part of a food chain where foxes and other creatures hunted them for food but without disturbing the balance of the whole system. What we have now ended up doing is make the predators runaway or worse hunt them and therefore create a mess of unbalancing the equation. This solution although a makeshift one… in an effort to replace the natural food chain, does not count that the balance is already imbalanced.
    In the earlier comment someone mentioned deers coming in the backyard… in my perspective are we the ones who are intruding in the backyard of the natural home to those deers???
    I just voiced this concern to make a point that humans have probably become more parasitic or like a virus (I am stealing this from the movie Matrix :P ) than a part of the natural equilibrium.
    all in all .. just a food for thought!

  8. Patricia_D October 21, 2009 at 6:53 am

    This really does sound like a human made mess… I know bunnies make tones of little bunnies in a very short period of time, if left alone. And really, its no fun being a stray rabbit in a big city – not their natural environment and not their natural behavior. Some people don’t realize that animals that are preyed upon in the wild, when they lose that threat, become sicker and weaker with every passing generation. And when talking about bunnies, with every passing year…

    I honestly believe what they are doing now is the best thing to do. Even if I am a vegetarian. Because eating the rabbits doesn’t work either – that means you can only kill the adult, somewhat well fed rabbit – which still leaves you with all the little bunnies running around, eating away the parks. Plus the purpose isn’t to make energy. The purpose is to get rid of the rabbits, which they would do anyway. The burning part is just to recover some of the cost.

    Pretty soon there won’t be any urban unnatural rabbits left in the city, so its not like the Swedes will build a whole industry on that. However, for those that lost their way, yes it is a another reason to hate the human race for simply existing on this planet. On my side, no guilty feeling for being alive!

  9. jeanX October 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I see nothing unusual about shooting rabbits, as long as it’s pain-free.Yesterday, I saw a deer in the daytime, right outside my
    house.Deer have been around here since the 1960′s.The prefer to browse in the gardens.I wish I could shoot deer, but it’s against the law, except in county parks.Life is bigger things eating smaller things, unless you’re a vegan.

  10. tashalita October 20, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Now wait a minute here? Let’s look at the practical side of this. . .of which there isn’t really one. . .but let’s try. Okay, so you kill the bunny, freeze the bunny, transport the bunny, reheat the bunny, burn the bunny. This doesn’t sound like a very energy efficient way to make energy. The energy it takes to freeze the bunny and transport said frozen bunny seems like a great deal of energy consumed. Then you have to reheat and burn bunny to create a small amount of biofuel. I’m just not seeing the practicality here. Beyond that, again, only looking at the very mechanical and practical side here, you now have to mow your lawns. Sounds like a scheme to create a lot of fake jobs to me – you now have a killer, freezer, transporter, reheater and mower all doing things that didn’t exist without bunny biofuel.

    What happened to the cow carbon fart backpacks for fuel? I say a cow carbon fart backback for every cow and every bunny!

  11. iamtew October 20, 2009 at 7:54 am

    This makes sense! I grew up in Stockholm and know what mess these cute little bunnies can do!

    The bunnies in Stockholm aren’t wild, they were released in to the town by people who couldn’t / wouldn’t take care of their own pets. The bunnies re-produced and spread.
    They cause alot of problem digging their nests around the railroad, undermining the foundation of the railroad tracks. This is just one example of how they damage the city and the infrastructure.

    Of course this would never have been a problem if the people would just have taken care of their pets instead of releasing them in to the city, which is not their natural habbitat. The people of Stockholm is just cleaning up the mess they created, and in the process do something usefull with that energy.

  12. isitgreen October 19, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I dont know how to react..

    “to cut back on bunny populations” …
    shouldn’t we be concerned on cutting down human population.. and reducing the demand.., than to excuse humans completely and start killing inncoent cratures for our comfort.
    Should we not try harder to use less energy in the first place before we try on ways to produce more cheap and resourceful energy!!!
    Can we avoid living in those areas and decrease the heating demand for once??..
    Which is Man’s natural habitat. Whose fault is it that we are spreading globally?
    Arent we one of the prominent invasive species of this planet?
    we are eliminating the so called “overabundant hungry bunnies who are decimating city parks!”…. what about the fact that we have been decimating the entire earth in all possible ways…
    its high time to realize that we are nature too… a very tiny portion of nature. when are we going to stop thinking that all other living organisms, and the earth itself is left at our disposal.????!!!

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