Amtrak Trials First Cow-Powered Train

Posted Apr 27th 2010 12:50 PMUpdated May 5th 2010 10:02 AM




All aboard for the first of Amtrak's cow-powered trains. In a series of environmental initiatives, Amtrak is trialing a biodiesel train that runs on the rendered fat of cows.

Funded by a $274,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration, the Heartland Flyer train, which travels between Oklahoma City and Forth Worth, has begun daily operations using the new B20 biodiesel fuel.

The company is hoping that using the new fuel will make rail travel more eco-friendly. According to Amtrak the fuel will mix 80 percent diesel with 20 percent of a biofuel produced from the rendered fat of Texas cows (which normally would have been used to produce soap and animal feed). Amtrak expects the change will cut both hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by 10 percent, and will reduce particulates by 15 percent and sulphates by 20 percent, compared to standard diesel fuels.

However, the new fuel is not without controversy. Animal rights organization PETA has already spoken out against the biofuel.

"The answer to pollution is not to use the ground up remains of tortured animals for fuel," PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich told Fast Company. "Anything using animal remains is going to be both depleting of and polluting of our environment."

The biodiesel will be key in a 12-month experiment, where Amtrak will collect emission data and study the impact of fuel on the train's engine, gaskets and valves.

In order to promote the new biodiesel train to passengers, Amtrak is now offering a 50 percent discount on a companion fare on the eco-friendly locomotive until May 28.

As a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, Amtrak has made a public commitment to reduce emissions by 7 percent from 2011 to 2012. In other efforts to be green, Amtrak has also switched from low sulphur fuel to ultra-low sulphur fuel across the railroad to cut down on air pollution. It has also increased efforts by reducing idling times for diesel trains.
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I guess I missed the part of the Constitution that guarantees animals "rights". Why not put all the critters in nice 3 bedroom houses in the suburbs? I love animals. Baked, broiled or fried. PETA needs to STFU.

April 30 2010 at 7:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Norman Prevatte

So many experts! I suggest every attempt be made by any method to reduce fuel consumption, and rid ourselves from dependence on Arab oil assets. Try this for a while, and if it works use it to the best advantage. If not, ditch it! This is not rocket science.

Norman Prevatt
Stafford, VA

April 28 2010 at 8:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

the Chicago climate exchange was founded w/ help from guess who? obama that's who goldman sachs and al gore are in on it too. they deal in carbon credits,essentially they are selling air so cap and trade are high on their agenda the can make trillions on this scam.... research it! something to think about

April 27 2010 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is there anything PETA is FOR???

April 27 2010 at 7:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Amtrak needs to check into using fat renderings from Democrats.

April 27 2010 at 7:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

PETA is like the liberal left , I can't fault their objective, just how they want to go about doing things. However, I have to believe there has to be a better way to propel our 21st century railways then to boil down the remains of cows. Maybe we can use this technology to get to Mars? Take my Mother in Law, please........she has an excess of gas.

April 27 2010 at 7:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Reindeer Games

The idiot who wrote this article should stop trying to make up words. "Trialing" is NOT a word. Try "testing" or "making a trial run of". "Journalists" are supposed to learn the English language first, then use it to report stories, not vice versa!

April 27 2010 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stephan L.

The initiative by AMTRAK to use and evaluate rendered
beef/cow fat as a potential use as a biofuel within their system I feel is to be applauded. Certainly our
national raiload transportation has some forward thinking professionals who not only see the distinct
benefits on reducing harmful hydrocarbon emmissions into our environment,in fact it is good business to be
eco-friendly for not only now but on into future generations who will not only live but travel through
out our great USA................

April 27 2010 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Seriously PETA? I agree with the individual who stated that PETAs intent is to horrify people with words like torture and slaughter. yes, maybe raising cows may cost more money but taken into consideration a more proffitable use for their fat, on top of all their other parts, this shouldnt really be an issue. It is possible that raising cows does create quite a bit of emissions, but Rome wasn't created in a day and this is just another small step in the right dirrection. As for those of you who seem to think that because were in the 21st century we should be non dependent on animal products... think again. It has been proven that strict vegan diets can lead to serious health issues and even death. Google it. Since the dawning of time, homo erectus has been consuming animal and it is a basic need that should not be skipped. Our bodies need certain nutrients found in meat. MAYBE... all you PETA nuts should spend more time persuing people who actually partake in animal CRUELTY, puppy hoarders and people who throw cats from the tops of buildings. Leave inovation to people who weigh the options of good and so called "evil".

April 27 2010 at 6:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

way to go a-hole. killing animals faster. just for a ride.

April 27 2010 at 6:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bill's comment

just for a ride? pretty sure ground beef, glue, and leather has been on the market for a VERY long time.

April 27 2010 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply