Study: Butter could power diesel vehicles

WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. researchers say the quest for raw materials as sources of biodiesel fuel has focused on an unlikely farm product — butter.

Scientists are investigating whether surplus, spoiled or non-food-grade butter can be used to make biodiesel fuel at competitive prices, an American Chemical Society release said Wednesday.

Global demand for biodiesel and the desire to expand the base of possible raw materials is motivating the research, the release said.

The United States alone has committed to producing 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022, including 1 billion gallons of biodiesel, a major increase from the current annual production level of about 11 billion gallons, the ACS reported.

Scientists recovered the fat from a quarter-ton of butter, 1 billion pounds of which are produced annually, and converted it into the fatty acid esters that constitute biodiesel. The resulting material met all but one of the official test standards for biodiesel, they said, only failing because of a slightly excessive sulfur content, and with further purification or by blending with biodiesel from other sources, butter biodiesel could add to the supply of bio-based fuel for diesel engines, the ACS said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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