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Making Biodiesel from Butter

The very popular State Fair Butter Sculpture to be recycled.

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SUNY ESF students, under the direction of Dr. Christopher Nomura, dismantled the huge State Fair butter sculpture of a cow jumping over the moon. Usually the butter is thrown away, but this year it's going green.

Bucket by bucket, yesterday, they hauled away what was this year's butter sculpture. About 900 pounds of butter was scraped off the mesh frame to turn into biodiesel.

Roughly 80 percent of butter is oil, so that can be used for fuel -- but the goal is to use as much of the butter as possible. "Not only are we going to be making biodiesel, we're also using other parts of the waste product to make biodegradable plastics and other types of natural materials," says SUNY ESF chemistry professor Chris Nomura.

All the butter will come back to the campus, where it will be warmed up and then put into a processor to make the fuel. The 900 pounds of butter should produce close to 100 gallons of biodiesel, which will be used in the school's fleet of vehicles.

"Butter to biodiesel is probably not going to be the solution to all the fuel problems in the world, obviously, but what's going to be important is that people are aware that these alternative energies have to be examined in a lot more detail, because we're going to need something in the future," Nomura says.

For health reasons, none of the butter used for the sculpture can be given away to be eaten.