Alligator fat could be used to make biodiesel

Aug 18, 2011 by Lisa Zyga weblog
Oil extracted from alligator fat meets nearly all of the official standards for high-quality biodiesel. Image credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

(PhysOrg.com) -- In addition to being a novelty food, alligators could also provide a feedstock for biodiesel. Every year, the alligator meat industry disposes of about 15 million pounds of alligator fat in landfills. Now scientists have found that oil can be extracted from the fat and used to make a high-quality biodiesel.

The researchers, Rakesh Bajpai and coauthors from the University of Louisiana, have published their study on the possibility of using alligator fat as fuel in a recent issue of the American Chemical Society journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

In 2008, the US produced about 700 million gallons of biodiesel to help supply some of the 45 billion gallons of diesel consumed that year. Most of the biodiesel came from soybean oil. Due to concerns that using food crops to produce fuels will raise the price of food, scientists have been investigating alternative feedstocks, including sewage sludge, Chinese tallow, and used vegetable oil.

By showing in experiments that oil extracted from alligator fat meets nearly all of the official standards for high-quality biodiesel, the Louisiana researchers have added another feedstock to the list. The scientists explained that alligator fat has a high lipid content, and the lipids could be recovered by microwaving frozen samples and by using a chemical solvent.

Although it would play a small role in biodiesel production if it is ever to be used, alligator fat could have an advantage of lower processing costs compared to some other feedstocks since it is a waste product.

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More information: Potential of Alligator Fat as Source of Lipids for Biodiesel Production, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/ie201000s

Abstract
A large amount of alligator fat (AF) is produced by alligator meat processing industry and disposed in landfills or discarded as waste. The AF can be used as a potential feedstock for biodiesel production due to its high lipid content. In this work, recovery of lipids from the AF tissue was studied by solvent extraction as well as by microwave rendering. Microwave rendering resulted in AF oil recovery of 61% by weight of the frozen AF tissue obtained from producers. The fatty acid profile of the lipid showed that palmitic acid (C16:0), palmitoleic acid (C16:1), and oleic acid (C18:1) were the dominant fatty acids accounting for 89–92% of all lipids by mass; 30% of the fatty acids were saturated and 70% were unsaturated. The biodiesel produced from AF oil was found to meet the ASTM specifications of biodiesel concerning kinematic viscosity, sulfur, free and total glycerin, flash point, cloud point, and acid number.

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User comments : 30

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MentalHealthNut
4.9 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2011
Or.... We could use hemp.
ziprar2
3.3 / 5 (12) Aug 18, 2011
hmmm, or why not use fat americans as fuel?? The fat extracted from fat and stupid american people could probably provide enough fuel for the whole world, also the food prices would drop.
epsi00
Aug 18, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
evaitl
4.2 / 5 (6) Aug 18, 2011
15e6 lbs. 62 lbs/gal. 61% efficient. 9000 gals/truck. I get about 16 tanker trucks full of diesel. Woohoo! We are all saved!

TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (12) Aug 18, 2011
Leave the alligators alone.
Yes because theyre so cuddly. Apparently farming them is big business:
http://en.wikiped...tor_farm

-And helps to minimize poaching of wild animals, which might otherwise be driven to extinction. I did not know this.
Simonsez
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 18, 2011
Leave the alligators alone.

Are you kidding me? Alligator meat is DELICIOUS. Things are fine as they are, and they should put the fat to use rather than leaving it as a waste product for disposal.
Nanobanano
3.1 / 5 (8) Aug 18, 2011
My God...I've tried alligator meat twice, and it's absolutely disgusting.

the only reason this might be profitable is because, as stated, it's using a part that is already wasted anyway. Otherwise it would never be worth it.

Still, this is pretty insignificant globally, though the individual gator farmers or the company that does this might make a profit...
Vendicar_Decarian
4 / 5 (4) Aug 18, 2011
Could Rush Limbauh's fat also be used?

His storehouse might alone reduce American Oil prices.

I say.. Render Limbaugh now!
Tenche
3.7 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2011
Great. Let's rape more of the planet to fuel your cars.
Nanobanano
3.5 / 5 (11) Aug 18, 2011
Great. Let's rape more of the planet to fuel your cars.


Considering it's coming from a waste product, it isn't raping the planet at all.

Additionally, farming alligators for the fat as a primary energy source would be a ridiculous waste of money, since predators are like 10 times less efficient than say livestock, which is far less efficient than plants.

You couldn't keep enough feedstock animals alive to feed the alligators to get enough fuel for the U.S.

Like I said, only reason this would be profitable is they are using something that gets thrown away anyway.

Not raping the land at all.
NotParker
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2011
I promise to stop using carbon based fuels if you promise to quit exhaling 1kg of CO2 per day.
Isaacsname
4.3 / 5 (3) Aug 18, 2011
Hard to believe in this day and age that such a large amount of something was going to the landfill. Usually byproducts of one industry are a raw commodity of another. Interesting.
Telekinetic
2.4 / 5 (10) Aug 18, 2011
"Around 10 million alligators and roughly 5 million crocodiles were killed between 1870-1970 for their skins, which were then made into shoes, belts, and handbags. In order to protect these animals, they were both classified as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. While the crocodile is still endangered, the alligator's population has rebounded and it is now listed as threatened. However, housing and other developments are fast encroaching on the gators' wetland homes."
I thought the days of whale blubber for oil lamps were over.
Dug
3.3 / 5 (12) Aug 18, 2011
From 15 M pounds of wastes you're talking about less than 250,000 gallons of gator fat a year - apparently from lots of scattered alligator farms. This is the same problem most waste product recycling runs into - not enough in one place to justify collecting, hauling and processing.

However, the idea to recycle Rush Limbaugh does require further examination - not just the oil, but all that gas. I know some people that wanted to build a monument to Rush - using his body as a giant candle (sort like the Kennedy Eternal Flame) - they just couldn't find a wick big enough.
Sinister1811
1.8 / 5 (12) Aug 18, 2011
And what happens when the Alligators go extinct? This is only a short term solution.
Sinister1811
1.1 / 5 (10) Aug 18, 2011
Even if they used the Alligator waste, there still wouldn't be enough Alligator fat to fuel the world's cars. Not to mention with the growing population.
89118a
1 / 5 (1) Aug 19, 2011
Render Limbaugh now! Is the funniest thing the Lockheed Martin/D-Wave bot has ever written.
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (5) Aug 19, 2011
But then again, there's probably more Alligator fat than Human brains...
Jayded
3 / 5 (4) Aug 19, 2011
How pathetic. We are such a pathetically small minded creature. Alligator fat for bio diesel, just pathetic.
hjbasutu
5 / 5 (1) Aug 19, 2011
Its too late to use them gators for fuel...electric cars are just around the corner..
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (6) Aug 19, 2011
How pathetic. We are such a pathetically small minded creature. Alligator fat for bio diesel, just pathetic.
Yes, I hate all of humanity too, including myself. But I love all of my cats.

No I don't.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 19, 2011
"Around 10 million alligators and roughly 5 million crocodiles were killed between 1870-1970 for their skins, which were then made into shoes, belts, and handbags. In order to protect these animals, they were both classified as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. While the crocodile is still endangered, the alligator's population has rebounded and it is now listed as threatened. However, housing and other developments are fast encroaching on the gators' wetland homes."
I thought the days of whale blubber for oil lamps were over.
So what's your point? These alligators are raised on farms. Are you saying the Japanese should construct whale farms?? Are you saying we should harvest only wild cows for leather??
TAz00
3 / 5 (2) Aug 19, 2011
Really?! I mean, is that what fueling our cars has come to?
Last I checked anything with carbon, ie old tyres, can be made into fuel. Alligators, wth!?
Neon
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 19, 2011
"alligator fat has a high lipid content, and the lipids could be recovered by microwaving frozen samples"

How much oil do you burn to drive 15 million pounds of alligator fat to the freezers, then how much coal do you burn to make the electricity needed to freeze 15 million pounds of fat and then how much more coal do you burn to microwave 15 million pounds of fat and then how much more oil do you burn to transport the biodiesel to the customer, then how much do you have to spend to convince all your veggie eaten libtards to put a poor mutilated animal into their hippie tank. Why bother? Thank God for petroleum!

http://www.youtub...=related
Neon
1 / 5 (3) Aug 19, 2011
Has anyone here even eaten alligator meat? Who are they selling all this alligator meat to?

http://www.youtub...-mgvqj1s
Burnerjack
1 / 5 (1) Aug 19, 2011
FINALY! An alternative to middle eastern oil.
scidog
not rated yet Aug 20, 2011
it won't be long before everything is going to get tossed into the pot to make some sort of fuel.just wait until the Scouts have "fuel drives" like the paper collections they once did and we are giving them bones and candle stubs...
Shootist
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 20, 2011
hmmm, or why not use fat americans as fuel?? The fat extracted from fat and stupid american people could probably provide enough fuel for the whole world, also the food prices would drop.


Why not render the dead?

Soylent Diesel is people!
antonima
not rated yet Aug 21, 2011
I bet these farms are wholly inefficient! Being green may require reducing the number of alligator farms rather than using their fat as fuel! But I suppose using waste is better than nothing.

Wouldn't it be more productive to burn the fat as solid fuel? That way it would be 15 million pounds of fuel instead of the pathetic 16 tanker trucks somebody mentioned.
_nigmatic10
1 / 5 (3) Aug 21, 2011
I can see it now. Alligator farms will take on a new meaning, and the world will be enveloped in alligator byproducts and the green hippies will post a study indicating alligator farts are causing global warming.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Aug 21, 2011
I can see it now. Alligator farms will take on a new meaning, and the world will be enveloped in alligator byproducts and the green hippies will post a study indicating alligator farts are causing global warming.
Naw theyre filtered like when you cut one in a jacuzzi.