A team of researchers from the Lafayette campus of the University of Louisiana have not only gotten used to the idea of putting plant oil (biodiesel) into their tanks, but are also thinking how they could convert alligator fat into an energy-rich fuel.
45 billion gallons a year: that the total diesel consumption in the U.S. in a year. Only one billion gallons produced from soy would use up to 21 percent of the total U.S. crop.
Already harvested for their meat and skins, the number of alligators in Louisiana is high enough not to think they’re on the verge of extinction. Dr. Rakesh Bajpai, a professor of chemical engineering at the fore-mentioned university, says “If you start seeing alligator roadkill, you’ve arrived in Louisiana.”
Barjpai says 15 million pounds of alligator fat could produce 1.25 million gallons of biodiesel fuel, having the same quality as petroleum diesel (an energy content of about 91 percent).
With a price only a little higher than that of gasoline, the alligator biodiesel fuel could sell at $2.40 a gallon, since the only cost associated with the fat would probably be the one of transportation, since the leftovers would have been trashed anyway.