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Lipofat probably not what alternative fuels advocates had in mind

Posted Dec 29 2008 6:02pm

Those innovative Californians.

Until recently, Beverly Hills liposuction doctor Craig Alan Bittner kept his and his girlfriends’ SUVs running on fat sucked out of his patients’ bodies.

Bittner's activities came to light after patients charged that he was letting his girlfriend and an assistant perform surgeries without a medical license. He continued to practice until last week but has reportedly left the country for South America. Bittner claimed his patients signed off on using their excess fat to fuel his cars.

Individuals, researchers and companies have been converting various types of vegetable and animal fats into fuels for years with varying degrees of success. While Bittner's method may seem like an ecoefficient  way to dispose of a mountain of liposuction waste, there’s a law on the books in California banning the use of human medical waste to power vehicles.

A representative of the National Biodiesel Board said that animal and vegetable fats contain triglycerides that can be converted into biodiesel fuels. A gallon of grease will get you about a gallon of fuel, and drivers can get about the same amount of mileage from fat fuel as they do from regular diesel, Jenna Higgins of NBD told Forbes magazine.

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