China’s omnivorous global appetite for energy resources is well known.
While biofuel production is one of the rising energy stars of the 21st century, it is unlikely to become a significant source for China in the near future, as the country’s arable land is devoted first and foremost to feeding the country’s massive population 1.3 billion citizens, unless a feedstock can be found that grows well on marginal land.
But the issue of food may yet prove to contribute to the country’s energy output by recycling a traditional component of Chinese cuisine – used cooking oil. According to a recent article in the People’s Daily, Beijing’s 19 million inhabitants are seeing the grease used to fry up their dim sum and other delicacies carted off by eight licensed collectors of used cooking oil, known as “hogwash,” for recycling into biofuel.
Hogwash oil is extracted from rotten pork and peroxided oil, used repeatedly in frying. The bad news is that when hogwash oil is reused in restaurants, it can breed a number of diseases, doctors suspecting that it is even a potential carcinogen.
Recycled into biodiesel fuel, hogwash oil accordingly becomes a public health service.
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