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Bacon Fat: A Recipe For Renewable Fuel

Bacon has become so popular that it’s pretty much everywhere you look – in chocolate, ice-cream, potato chips, syrup, salt, even toothpaste –  so why not bacon fuel, too?

It’s not as farfetched as it sounds. Hormel Foods, based in Austin, MN teamed up with Bio-Blend Fuels of Manitowoc, WI, to create a motorcycle that runs on bacon grease, which is technically a biofuel, even if it’s not from a plant.

Hormel and Bio-Blend Fuels converted a rare diesel motorcycle, the 2011 Track T-800 CDI, to run on rendered bacon fat, which is renewable, sustainable and non-polluting – and to many people, smells  a lot better than normal engine exhaust.

Related: Rethink Biofuel Sources, Not Biofuels Subsidies

The idea was the result of creative thinking by BBDO Minneapolis, an ad agency that has already done work for Hormel's products, including the company's Black Label bacon and, of course, Spam.

“The whole goal was to really find people that are to the core about something,” Scott Schraufnagel of BBDO Minneapolis told KAAL-TV in Austin. “We’re obviously bacon to the core, but [we want to find] people that have a passion or have something they really believe in.”

The agency wanted to promote Hormel bacon in an attention-grabbing way, so they enlisted self-proclaimed bacon lover Eric Pierson to drive from Austin to San Diego on a bacon-powered bike, with a camera crew trailing behind.

Along the way, they stopped at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota to drum up interest in the bike – and the brand – before cruising through Wyoming and Utah. They reached the USS Midway Museum in San Diego on Aug. 13. The retired aircraft carrier was the site of the Second Annual International Bacon Film Festival, where an edited documentary of Pierson's journey was shown.

Related: Why Biodiesel May Not Be The Miracle Fuel You Think

The idea of using edible fats to fuel vehicles isn't new, though the use of bacon fat may be a first. Mechanics have already converted vehicles to operate with frying oil left over from fast-food restaurants.

Bacon grease, even from Hormel's top-of-the-line Black Label bacon, is competitive with gasoline at today's prices, about $3.50 a pound, and the mileage isn't too shabby at 75 to 100 miles per gallon.

The bike, and the project's website, are called Driven By Bacon. And the logo is a stern-looking, helmeted pig.

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By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

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