Animal fat

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Bioenergy > Feedstocks > Waste feedstocks > Animal fat

Animal fats can be used as feedstocks for biodiesel.

Animal fat, usually a by-products of meat processing, can be used as a feedstock for biodiesel, biogas and other types of bioenergy. Normally considered a distant secondary feed stock in the West, animal fat in many developing countries may be one of the cheapest and most accessible feedstocks for SVO and biodiesel production.

Animal Fat Use in Industrialized Countries

Animal Fat Use in Developing Countries

Note: This section was contributed by BioenergyWiki User SEJustice.'
In many developing countries where waste vegetable oils or straight vegetable oils are either not available or too expensive, animal fat may represent ways forward in developing the SVO and biodiesel production sectors. Because the cost of the feedstock represents 60-90% of the final cost of production of biodiesel, it is critical to find the lowest cost feedstock possible for this newly emerging industry.

Benefits of animal fat for biodiesel in developing countries include:

  1. Increasing the variety of feedstocks (with animal fat) making the potential for a more robust fair feedstock market
  2. Rendering fat is already widely done for candle and soap making industries.

Benefits of animal fat for SVO systems in developing countries include:

  1. It’s low tech.
  2. The parts needed for making filtering are widely available.
  3. Putting “grease” systems into old diesel vehicles (bypassing warranty issues) / tractors/ small single cylinder engines pumpsets-generators is a good example of an appropriate technology.
  4. It can be blended at any proportion with fossil diesel.
  5. It makes clean fuel much more accessible to the less well off because it eliminates the need for all of the cost, complexity (procurement of methanol and lye, training in chemistry, etc.), danger (toxic chemical handling) involved in making biodiesel.
  6. You get dramatic air quality benefits, even at low blending levels in terms of particulate matter, sulfur, CO, and other harmful emissions (with the exception of NOx which may decrease or increase slightly depending on the feedstock used, the engine, etc.).


  • Big Meat: Fueling Change or Greenwashing Fuel?, 3 June 2010 by Anna Lappé in The Atlantic: "On January 13, 2009, Tyson—one of the world's largest processors of chicken, beef, and pork—and the fuel company Syntroleum broke ground in Geismar, Louisiana, on a 'renewable' diesel plant. The fuel will be produced in part with Tyson factory farm byproducts, including animal fat and poultry litter."
    • "Tyson claims these facilities produce eco-friendly, cleaner-burning fuels from scraps that would otherwise be wasted. But critics beg to differ....The fuels depend on energy-intensive, greenhouse-gas-emitting confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which require feed raised with methods that deplete topsoil and overuse synthetic fertilizer, contributing to carbon dioxide emissions."[1]
  • China Farm Gets Shocking Amount of Power From Cow Poop, 6 May 2010 by The New York Times: "A 250,000-head dairy operation in northeast China plans to open the world's largest cow manure-fed power project in September, according to General Electric Co., the company supplying four biogas turbines to the Liaoning Huishan Cow Farm in Shenyang. For comparison, the largest U.S. dairy farms have 15,000 cattle."
    • "China's newest livestock digester will reduce piles of dung, yield fertilizer and heat, and will supply 38,000 megawatt-hours of power annually to the state's power grid, enough to meet the average demand of some 15,000 Chinese residents. It produces biogas, a methane and carbon dioxide mix emanating from manure, grease, sewage or other organic materials allowed to stew in an oxygen-free chamber."
    • "The barriers to the expansion of biogas are about economics, not technology, and how long it takes for biogas projects to pay off varies country by country."
    • "The biogas field could be one more example of the ways the United States is falling behind China. Yesterday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that the United States is lagging behind China, which provides strong tax incentives for a host of renewable energy technologies."[2]

Waste for bioenergy use edit
Wood waste (Wood pellets)
Agricultural waste (Biomass pellets, Corn stover, Dung, Straw, Waste citrus peels, Manure, Green manure)
Municipal waste (Municipal Solid Waste - MSW)
Waste Vegetable Oil
Bioenergy feedstocks edit

Biodiesel feedstocks:
Currently in use: Animal fat | Castor beans | Coconut oil | Jatropha | Jojoba | Karanj | Palm oil | Rapeseed | Soybeans | Sunflower seed | Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO)
Currently in research and development: Algae | Halophytes (Salt-tolerant plants)

Ethanol feedstocks:
First-generation: Cassava | Corn | Milo | Nypa palm | Sorghum | Sugar beets | Sugar cane | Sugar palm |Sweet potato | Waste citrus peels | Wheat | Whey
Second-generation: For cellulosic technology - Grasses: Miscanthus, Prairie grasses, Switchgrass | Trees: Hybrid poplar, Mesquite, Willow

Charcoal feedstocks: Bamboo | Wood
Waste-to-energy (MSW)


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