Forget corn—meat byproducts are the fuel of the future. That’s what Tyson and oil company Conoco are banking on, in a new partnership to turn the factory-farming giant’s leftover animal fat into biodiesel. As the Financial Times reports, Tyson has been vocal in its criticism of the corn-ethanol industry, whose increasing production could drive up the price of animal feed, inflating food prices for consumers (oh, and also cutting into Tyson’s bottom line).
The biodiesel deal will certainly fatten the food company’s profits, according to CNBC: Not only will Tyson make money on increased sales of tallow (currently used in some cooking oils and cosmetics), it will also receive a tax break for creating an alternative fuel.
Since tallow isn’t truly a waste product, Tyson’s move isn’t as efficient or environmentally friendly as some other meat-based fuel ideas out there. And given that a good number of truly hard-core biodiesel fans don’t eat meat at all, let alone the factory-farmed variety, they probably won’t be the ones lining up at the pump for the new stuff. It’s good to see biodiesel getting some play—it’s better in many ways than corn-based ethanol—but I’m not sure Tyson’s will be the best option.