Energy Innovation: From Chocolate to Diapers

In this week’s Bloomberg Business Week, Esme Deprez highlights a few of the more innovative sources now being explored for fuel. In the wake of the gulf oil spill and the coal mining tragedy, it makes sense to look at more of these options: 1) Chocolate: a Formula 3 racecar that runs on biodiesel from chocolate waste in Britain. 2) Turkeys: diesel from bones, beaks and feathers 3) Coffee: from the 20% of grounds that are oil—comes complete with that scent of fresh-brewed java 4) Beef: Amtrak is using biodiesel from beef by-products in Texas 5) Human fat: a plastic surgeon is converting liposuction waste to power his car 6) Urine: especially from pigs, converts to hydrogen, helps with disposal 7) Manure: Every day a cow produces enough energy to power two light bulbs 8) Dirty diapers: the products and their contents yield methane and diesel oil. In fact, most of these solutions offer twin benefits: providing energy while reducing waste and emissions. Perhaps if these solutions got just a fraction of the subsidies we spend on oil and coal, they might add to the mix we need for a better future.

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About Lynda Lawrence

Lynda Lawrence is an innovation consultant with Ideaworks Consulting. She teaches Strategic Innovation and Design Management at the Merage School at UCI, and is an advisor to the Beall Center.