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posted by janrinok on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:25PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the order-another-burger dept.

Research into the environmental impact of animal-based foods has concluded that beef has the greatest impact by a large margin (Full text [pdf]).

When the numbers were in, including those for the environmental costs of different kinds of feed (pasture, roughage such as hay, and concentrates such as corn), the team developed equations that yielded values for the environmental cost per calorie and then per unit of protein, for each food.

The calculations showed that the biggest culprit, by far, is beef. That was no surprise, say Milo and Shepon. The surprise was in the size of the gap: In total, eating beef is more costly to the environment by an order of magnitude about ten times on average than other animal-derived foods, including pork and poultry. Cattle require on average 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water, are responsible for releasing 5 times more greenhouse gases, and consume 6 times as much nitrogen, as eggs or poultry. Poultry, pork, eggs and dairy all came out fairly similar. That was also surprising, because dairy production is often thought to be relatively environmentally benign. But the research shows that the price of irrigating and fertilizing the crops fed to milk cows as well as the relative inefficiency of cows in comparison to other livestock jacks up the cost significantly.

Related Stories

Lab-Grown Chicken (and Duck) Could be on the Menu in 4 Years 16 comments

A company called Memphis Meats has announced that it has developed artificial/synthetic/lab-grown/cultured chicken and duck meat. The company's press release says it plans to sell cultured meat products to consumers as soon as 2021. Duck is identified as key to the mainland China market, which consumes more of it (over 6 billion pounds annually) than the rest of the world combined:

The quest for artificial meat inches forward—the company Memphis Meats announced today it has developed chicken and duck meat from cultured cells of each bird, producing "clean poultry." The firm provided few details, although participants at a tasting reportedly said the chicken tasted like, well, chicken. Below is a repost of a story originally published 23 August 2016 on some of the regulatory challenges and questions facing Memphis Meats and other companies pursuing artificial meats.

[...] So far, none of these synthetic foods has reached the marketplace. But a handful of startup companies in the United States and elsewhere are trying to scale up production. In the San Francisco Bay area in California, entrepreneurs at Memphis Meats hope to have their cell-cultured meatballs, hot dogs, and sausages on store shelves in about 5 years, and those at Perfect Day are targeting the end of 2017 to distribute cow-free dairy products. It's not clear, however, which government agencies would oversee this potential new food supply.

Historically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates meat, poultry, and eggs, whereas the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees safety and security for food additives. FDA also approves so-called biologics, which include products made from human tissues, blood, and cells, and gene therapy techniques. But emerging biotechnologies may blur those lines of oversight, because some of the new foods don't fit neatly into existing regulatory definitions. "Cellular culture raises a lot of questions," says Isha Datar, CEO of New Harvest, a New York City–based nonprofit founded to support this nascent industry.

To help provide answers, the White House last year launched an initiative to review and overhaul how U.S. agencies regulate agricultural biotechnology [DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6244.131] [DX]. And the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C., is working on a broader study of future biotechnology developments and regulation, with a report slated for release at the end of this year. In the meantime, industry leaders are thinking about how their potential lab-based foods might be handled by regulators. One approach, they tell ScienceInsider, is to show that their product is similar to an existing product that testing has already shown to pose no hazards. "Most food regulation is about aligning new products with something that's already recognized as safe," Datar notes.

Related: Producing Beef has the Greatest Impact on the Environment Compared to Other Animal Based Foods
Real Vegan Cheese: Coming From a Yeast to You
Would You Try Silicon Valley's Bloody Plant Burger(s)?
Lab-Grown Pork Closer to Reality

Right now, manufactured meat is as real as a flying car.
- Anonymous Coward, 2014


Original Submission

Cargill, Bill Gates, Richard Branson Backed Memphis Meats Expects Meat From Cells in Stores by 2021 39 comments

Submitted via IRC for takyon

Cargill Inc., one of the largest global agricultural companies, has joined Bill Gates and other business giants to invest in a nascent technology to make meat from self-producing animal cells amid rising consumer demand for protein that's less reliant on feed, land and water.

Memphis Meats, which produces beef, chicken and duck directly from animal cells without raising and slaughtering livestock or poultry, raised $17 million from investors including Cargill, Gates and billionaire Richard Branson, according to a statement Tuesday on the San Francisco-based startup's website. The fundraising round was led by venture-capital firm DFJ, which has previously backed several social-minded retail startups.

They made the first ever chicken and duck meat that were produced without the animals.

The company expects to have a product in stores by 2021.

"They're the leader in clean meat. There's no one else that far along," says venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, whose firm led Memphis Meats' recent $17 million Series A. Before he met Valeti in 2016, Jurvetson spent almost five years researching lab-grown meat and meat alternatives, believing the market was set to explode. "They're the only one that convinced me they can get to a price point and a scale that would make a difference in the industry," he says.

Cargill is the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue ($109.7 billion in 2017).

Source: https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/10/cargill-bill-gates-richard-branson-backed-memphis-meats-expects-meat-from-cells-in-stores-by-2021.html

Previously: Lab-Grown Chicken (and Duck) Could be on the Menu in 4 Years

Related: Lab-grown meat would 'cut emissions and save energy'
Producing Beef has the Greatest Impact on the Environment Compared to Other Animal Based Foods
Real Vegan Cheese: Coming From a Yeast to You
Would You Try Silicon Valley's Bloody Plant Burger(s)?
Lab-Grown Pork Closer to Reality


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1, Redundant) by fliptop on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:27PM

    by fliptop (1666) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:27PM (#72822) Journal

    We're certainly not going back to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, are we?

    --
    It's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:34PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:34PM (#72828)

      How about reading the title, summary or article?

      • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by fliptop on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:50PM

        by fliptop (1666) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:50PM (#72838) Journal

        How about reading the title, summary or article?

        I did, and what I see is death by a thousand slices. To me this is just a way for all the chicken-littles to cry the sky is falling, you must stop eating beef and drinking milk and eating cheese. If they were successful, and everyone started shunning beef and turned to chicken/pork/fish, don't you think the next study will be "producing pork is X times more harmful to the environment than chicken and fish?"

        It's nothing more than a ploy by environmentalist wackos (and possibly vegetarians) to shame us knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers into submission.

        --
        It's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide.
        • (Score: 3, Funny) by hoochiecoochieman on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:04PM

          by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:04PM (#72844)

          They can pry my pork from my cold, dead hands!

          • (Score: 2) by Alfred on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:28PM

            by Alfred (4006) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:28PM (#72860) Journal

            I like the diversity of beef, pork and chicken so...

            You can pry my fork from my cold, dead hands!

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:14PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:14PM (#72850) Journal

          Agreed, its also the top item on the vegan agenda.

          From TFS:

          including those for the environmental costs of different kinds of feed (pasture, roughage such as hay, and concentrates such as corn)

          The point here is that we have no way to feed ourselves with pasture roughage and hay OTHER THAN by Cattle, sheep, or goats. We can't eat that stuff. So its not like we can just stop doing that and plant turnips or something.

          Any alternative crops that we could grow on that pastureland would take much higher population densities to manage, and do much more environmental damage.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:28PM

            by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:28PM (#72861)

            Where are mod points when I need them?

            This is an excellent point, that you can't compare a hectare of semi-arid pastureland with a hectare of fertile soil. Some of the land used for cattle production can't be put to more productive use.

            On the other hand, a lot of cattle are grain-fed so the land and water used to provide their feed *could* be used to produce other food instead.

            --
            [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
            • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Thursday July 24 2014, @02:15AM

              by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Thursday July 24 2014, @02:15AM (#73081) Journal

              I agree and would just like to say that being in the middle of BF AR, surrounded by fricking cows and pastures allow me to say this...the land them cows are grazed on? You aren't doing jack shit with it OTHER than grazing animals, its just not good enough land to be worth it. All the land that was good enough to plant crops on? they planted crops ages ago while the land the cows are on is hilly, often strewn with rocks and old stumps, and when you actually dig into the soil even AFTER having decades of cow shit umped on it the only thing you'll grow there is weeds, its just not good dirt. With most of the pastures its just junk land that if you didn't put cows on it the only things it would be producing is snake and weeds.

              --
              ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by dry on Thursday July 24 2014, @06:08AM

                by dry (223) on Thursday July 24 2014, @06:08AM (#73145) Journal

                Bison?

                • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Thursday July 24 2014, @06:58AM

                  by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Thursday July 24 2014, @06:58AM (#73150) Journal

                  And what would you DO with them? They have the same footprint, same impact, only difference is not too many like the meat so you'll end up with a lot of rotting meat headed for the landfills.

                  --
                  ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
                  • (Score: 2) by dry on Sunday July 27 2014, @04:12AM

                    by dry (223) on Sunday July 27 2014, @04:12AM (#74316) Journal

                    As I understand they are better at living on prairie type grasses and don't emit tons of methane. The few times I've eaten bison, I found it more similar to beef then anything and had no problem with the taste, I believe they were farm raised. Of course meat reflects the diet that grew the meat. I've had venison from sagebrush country and it was, well different.
                    There's also goats and even sheep as examples of more efficient producers of meat and pretty good producers of milk (perhaps healthier).
                    (funny enough playing on the radio is the blues song "goat meat ain't fit to eat")

                    • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday July 30 2014, @12:14AM

                      by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Wednesday July 30 2014, @12:14AM (#75319) Journal

                      TYhe problem is their ultra low fat content makes them worthless for many dishes as you need a certain amount of fat to get things to mix correcty, also they are kinda "gamey" for want of a better term and while I personally like deer and gator there are many that just do not like the taste.

                      --
                      ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by dry on Thursday July 24 2014, @05:22AM

            by dry (223) on Thursday July 24 2014, @05:22AM (#73140) Journal

            The answer is in your comment, use the land for goats or sheep. The problem with cattle is that they use a lot of grain (including corn) to fatten up. It's rare to see grass fed beef for sale. Even goat milk is more digestible for many.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:38PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:38PM (#72832)

      I don't think you have to go to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle just in order to replace your beef with pork or chicken.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:03PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:03PM (#72842)

      Soylent!

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by takyon on Wednesday July 23 2014, @06:38PM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday July 23 2014, @06:38PM (#72892) Journal

      Other than buying more chicken, pork, turkey, etc., one potential alternative is "cultured meat". Aka the lab-grown burger.

      World's first lab-grown burger to be cooked and eaten [bbc.com]

      The biggest problem? No fat cells in version 1.0, so it didn't have that juicy burger taste.

      Heck No Or Let's Go? Your Thoughts On Lab-Grown Meat [npr.org]

      As for how the meat industry feels about this technology? Here's what Janet Riley, spokeswoman for the American Meat Institute, told us in an email:

      "Until researchers can show that it can be remotely cost effective, scalable and even tasty, it's not realistic," Riley wrote.

      She expressed doubt that consumers would go for the petri dish patty.

      "Trends show a new interest in how meat is produced and a growing desire among many consumers for local and natural products," she wrote. "A laboratory grown meat product derived from stem cells is unlikely to satisfy the trends currently at play."

      But Riley also didn't rule out the meat industry's interest in the technology: "we are in the business of providing choices, and if this process becomes a viable option, we welcome it as just another option in our abundant meat case."

      Environmentalists, too, are skeptical that in vitro beef will alleviate the strain on resources given that much of the growing demand for meat in developing countries is for pork. Janet Larsen, director of research for the Earth Policy Institute, says that as for Americans, we are already learning that meat doesn't need to be on the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner: "It's far simpler to accelerate the reduction we're already seeing in meat consumption [than wait for lab-grown beef]."

      Wikipedia: In vitro meat [wikipedia.org]

      Research has shown that environmental impacts of cultured meat are significantly lower than normally slaughtered beef. For every acre that is used for vertical farming and/or in vitro meat manufacturing, anywhere between 10 acres (4.0 ha) to 20 acres (8.1 ha) of land may be converted from conventional agriculture usage back into its natural state. Vertical farms (in addition to in vitro meat facilities) could exploit methane digesters to generate a small portion of its own electrical needs. Methane digesters could be built on site to transform the organic waste generated at the facility into biogas which is generally composed of 65% methane along with other gasses.

      A study by researchers at Oxford and the University of Amsterdam found that in vitro meat was "potentially ... much more efficient and environmentally-friendly", generating only 4% greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the energy needs of meat generation by up to 45%, and requiring only 2% of the land that the global meat/livestock industry does. The patent holder Willem van Eelen, the journalist Brendan I. Koerner, and Hanna Tuomisto, a PhD student from Oxford University all believe it has less environmental impact. This is in contrast to cattle farming, "responsible for 18% of greenhouse gases" and causing more damage to the environment than the combined effects of the world's transportation system. Vertical farming may completely eliminate the need to create extra farmland in rural areas along with in vitro meat. Their combined role may create a sustainable solution for a cleaner environment.

      One skeptic is Margaret Mellon of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who speculates that the energy and fossil fuel requirements of large scale in vitro meat production may be more environmentally destructive than producing food off the land. However, it has been indicated that both vertical farming in urban areas and the activity of in vitro meat facilities will cause very little harm to the species of wildlife that live around the facilities. Many natural resources will be spared from depletion due to the conservation efforts made by both vertical farming and in vitro meat; making them ideal technologies for an overpopulated world. Conventional farming, on the other hand, kills ten wildlife animals per hectacre each year. Converting ten acres of farmland from its man-made condition back into either pristine wilderness or grasslands would save approximately 40 animals while converting two acres of that same farmland back into the state it was in prior to settlement by human beings would save approximately 80 animals.

      ...

      Animal welfare groups are generally in favor of the production of in vitro meat because it does not have a nervous system and therefore cannot feel pain. Reactions of vegetarians to in vitro meat vary, some feel the in vitro meat presented to the public in August 2013 was not vegetarian as foetal calf serum was used in the growth medium.

      Maastricht University: Cultured Beef [culturedbeef.net]
      Burger tasting London Aug 2013 [youtube.com]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @06:56PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @06:56PM (#72906)

        Right now, manufactured meat is as real as a flying car.

        It has not been shown to be up to quality, and the approaches used to get it there tend to be expensive and hard to scale.

        It is quite distinguishable from live grown meat, which is why they're working in terms of nuggets and hamburger.

        The capital investment and running costs currently are far higher than any regular ranch.

        All of these problems need to be meaningfully solved before it turns commercially viable. Are there approaches to solutions? Yes. Are there commercially viable solutions? No. Not yet.

        As for vertical farming, that can only work as much as your sunlight will penetrate. It's no accident that gardeners worry about the sunlight needs and shade tolerance of plants. There's only so much insolation you get. What's worse, if you pack your vertical farms close together they shade each other when the sun is low in the sky, instead of just shading their own lower layers.

        Real, practical vertical farms are best approximated with some of the permaculture approaches, and even then your ground cover is impoverished compared to what you would get in an open field. The benefit is that with multiple crops over a single acre you get better net yields even though each individual yield is lower.

        All these people are spinning their wheels desperately searching for free lunches.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Wednesday July 23 2014, @10:12PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 23 2014, @10:12PM (#73002) Journal

      We're certainly not going back to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, are we?

      No, we could breed elephants. Or giant slugs.

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:32PM

    by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:32PM (#72827)

    Actually beef is not my favourite meat. One more reason for me to stick with pork, chicken and fish.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by meisterister on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:38PM

      by meisterister (949) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:38PM (#72831) Journal

      +1 to this. I don't really see why people like beef so much, when pork is generally far easier to eat and when you have chicken, you're eating a dinosaur.

      --
      (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by FatPhil on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:52PM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:52PM (#72839) Homepage
        +1 to this too. Purely so demand goes down, and then prices will follow.

        If it's 10 times as costly to the environment, and only costs me three times what I pay for pork (inner fillets 15e/kg and 5e/kg respectively), then surely I'm getting really good value for money for the destruction I cause - yay!
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by JeanCroix on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:43PM

    by JeanCroix (573) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:43PM (#72835)
    Kill all the cattle. And eat them. The Final Beef Barbeque.
    • (Score: 1) by Buck Feta on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:36PM

      by Buck Feta (958) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:36PM (#72866) Journal

      Hey cows. Look what we did to the bison [wikimedia.org]. Shape up!

      --
      - fractious political commentary goes here -
  • (Score: 2) by d on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:53PM

    by d (523) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:53PM (#72840)

    I hate it when people forget about the other side of the calculation. I mean, beef also eats carbon dioxide and produces oxygen, right?

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by hoochiecoochieman on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:07PM

      by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:07PM (#72845)

      Yeah, cows breathe methane and fart the purest mountain air out of their asses.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @07:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @07:53PM (#72945)

      I hate it when I just am not sure if a post is satire or actual idiocy.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @10:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @10:08PM (#72998)

      Cattle eat complex carbon chains. Their metabolism converts at least some of that to methane and other carbon-rich gases.

      Cattle breathe the atmosphere, consuming O2 and producing CO2.

      I hope this clears up some of your confusion.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:53PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:53PM (#72874)

    First, as was observed above, agronomy matters. Just because ruminants can convert arid grassland growth into digestible protein doesn't mean that we can usefully or easily grow food crops there. And when we can, the environmental implications are often vast (or are huge dams and expensive, power-hungry irrigation systems our friends this week? I can never keep up ...) for marginal returns.

    Second, I don't see any real mention in this analysis of what animal agriculture permits. Quite aside from human nutritional arguments (and no, agronomy also means you can't feed all the humans on earth a vegan diet even if you could magically secure their cooperation), animal byproducts are often synergistically valuable to other agricultural purposes. If you want productive soil, and you don't want to use petrochemicals to supplement soil nutrients, and you don't want to use manure, you had better find some way of turning wishful thinking into soybeans. While you're busy doing that, I'll be over here reaping the rewards of good, old-fashioned manure in my soil.

    Third, never mind soil fertility (hah!) but let's consider just the brute work behind getting a crop in. Today, we use tractors. If oil prices keep going the way they're going, tomorrow we may well be using horses and oxen. Doing so means that we are keeping animals - a hell of a lot of them. What do you do when they're too old to work, or die? A retirement home for every shire or percheron too weak to pull a harrow? Burial plots? On my farm, they'll be eaten. And their bones ground up and turned into the earth, along with their manure.

    And as for the lunatics who think that we should farm in a vegan way, here's a heads-up: all your crunchy-granola animal friendly crops? Were sown and harvested at a staggering cost in animal life, simply because a combine harvester or even a simple scythe's blade can't see through the dense growth and figure out where a vole is hiding. The first hint a worker gets that he just sliced a mouse in half can easily be a red smear on his blade. A subsoiler can tear a mole up without anyone being any the wiser. If you eat anything that came off a commercial farm, even if the Amish run that farm, it's stained in blood. Get over it. Get therapy, get drugs, get over it and stop trying to tell the rest of us what we shouldn't be doing when you don't even grasp the implications. And this isn't even touching on the topic of the kind of pest control required to actually have that crop in the first place...

    • (Score: 1) by camaro on Wednesday July 23 2014, @07:01PM

      by camaro (584) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @07:01PM (#72913)

      Thank you for that insightful post. I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm a cattle producer. For me to turn all my pasture and hay land into grain or pulse production would be an environmental disaster. This sandy soil I farm on is doing far better growing grass for the cattle than it could ever do producing anything else.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by carguy on Wednesday July 23 2014, @08:51PM

      by carguy (568) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @08:51PM (#72976)

      Third, never mind soil fertility (hah!) but let's consider just the brute work behind getting a crop in. Today, we use tractors. If oil prices keep going the way they're going, tomorrow we may well be using horses and oxen.

      Visiting relatives in central Wisconsin this week. Lots of big dairy operations here and many of them also grow soy beans for cow feed. But, the soy oil isn't really good for the cows, so they press the beans and use the soy oil in the tractors. The soy oil can be converted to biodiesel, but it is even easier to simply mix with 50% diesel (when it is warm enough--the soy oil congeals in cold weather).

      Bonus is the pressed beans are better for the cows. On a big operation, at current fuel prices, I understand the payback for the press (runs off tractor pto) can be a couple of years, but don't quote me on that.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @09:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @09:53PM (#72993)

        I believe it. As a way of stretching your diesel dollar on what would otherwise probably be a waste product (unless you wanted to jump through FDA hoops to sell it as cooking oil) it's not a bad idea, just like power generation from methane off cow manure.

        However, that doesn't make it a viable, net positive fuel source without the addition of petrochemical sources. It's more like energy recycling than energy generation.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday July 23 2014, @10:17PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 23 2014, @10:17PM (#73006) Journal

      you don't want to use manure, you had better find some way of turning wishful thinking into soybeans.

      Wishful thinking is kinda crap anyway.
      Just sayin'

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by evilviper on Wednesday July 23 2014, @06:08PM

    by evilviper (1760) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @06:08PM (#72877) Homepage Journal

    are responsible for releasing 5 times more greenhouse gases,

    It's only a problem because we allow it to continue.

    There have been plenty of projects to retrofit cespools to trap and use the methane, typically burned by generators to produce power, instead of just being released into the atmosphere.

    http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/energy/stories/poop-to-power-program-turns-pig-manure-into-sustainable-energy [mnn.com]

    http://www.sfgate.com/green/article/AGRICULTURE-270-cows-generating-electricity-for-2779190.php [sfgate.com]

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090610-pigs-video-ap.html [nationalgeographic.com]

    http://www.riverdeep.net/current/2002/03/032502t_cowpower.jhtml [riverdeep.net]

    --
    Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DrMag on Wednesday July 23 2014, @06:57PM

      by DrMag (1860) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @06:57PM (#72908)

      Going a little off-topic; I was just in Southern Pennsylvania doing some camping and re-gathering my wits. Every night, you could hear what sounded like a jet-engine in the distance. I was curious, and found out that with the fracking they're doing out there, they get a lot of methane along with the natural gas. Apparently they can't find a way to use the methane at a profit, so what do they do? Burn it up. All night long.

      There has to be a better way.

      • (Score: 2) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday July 23 2014, @07:12PM

        by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @07:12PM (#72921)

        I don't doubt what you saw and heard, but your interpretation can't be right. Methane is the primary component [naturalgas.org] of natural gas. I suspect the primary objective of the fracking is oil, and the natural gas is being flared [psu.edu] off because there's either too little of it to justify building the infrastructure to capture it, or said infrastructure isn't built yet.

        --
        [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Wednesday July 23 2014, @07:50PM

        by evilviper (1760) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @07:50PM (#72942) Homepage Journal

        found out that with the fracking they're doing out there, they get a lot of methane along with the natural gas. Apparently they can't find a way to use the methane at a profit, so what do they do? Burn it up. All night long.

        There has to be a better way.

        First off, methane IS natural gas. Methane/natural gas is typically flared off when they're extracting oil out in the middle of nowhere.

        They don't burn it just for the hell of it... Whether their storage / transport / pipeline capacity is exceeded, or it's excess pressure that blows a valve, incidental seepage they can't capture, or something similar... burning (flaring) it is the proper and safe way to release/dispose of it. Technology is improving how much of it can be captured/stored, and increasing energy prices are making it more economical to go to great lengths to capture it. The use of flaring has been gradually declining over the years:

        http://triblive.com/news/1442093-74/gas-drilling-drillers-flaring-environmental-industry-ozone-pollution-compressor-fuel [triblive.com]

        http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/natural-gas-flaring-infrastructure/3029 [energyandcapital.com]

        --
        Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
  • (Score: 2) by khallow on Wednesday July 23 2014, @09:14PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 23 2014, @09:14PM (#72983) Journal

    Cattle has a higher environmental cost per calorie or kg of protein, but people are willing to pay a huge premium for the better quality cuts of meat. Googling around, I notice market prices [meat-prices.co.uk] from London, UK: consumers are willing to pay 3,700 pence per kg for the best cuts of beef (fillet steak), but only 1,029 pence per kg for the best cuts of pork (fillet of pork).

    And that's why we have beef cattle in the first place. Because people really like beef above and beyond its nutritional content.

    • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Wednesday July 23 2014, @11:30PM

      by evilviper (1760) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @11:30PM (#73035) Homepage Journal

      Actually, with proper seasoning, you can make most other meats taste very close to steak. Once drown in A-1, covered in dry-rub, and dipped in Au Jus, you only barely taste the actual flavor of the meat.

      --
      Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
      • (Score: 1) by dpp on Thursday July 24 2014, @01:32AM

        by dpp (3579) on Thursday July 24 2014, @01:32AM (#73074)

        I actually find you can make non-meat-based foods taste like "animal x" once you drown it in similar flavorings.

      • (Score: 2) by khallow on Thursday July 24 2014, @11:24PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 24 2014, @11:24PM (#73523) Journal

        Actually, with proper seasoning, you can make most other meats taste very close to steak. Once drown in A-1, covered in dry-rub, and dipped in Au Jus, you only barely taste the actual flavor of the meat.

        Ignoring what is implied here by "proper seasoning", I'll just note that I can tell the difference, even with such dousing (and in the absence of texture clues like the difference between eating steak and chicken breast). For example, I can distinguish between beef and pork sausage or between ground beef and ground poultry. My tastebuds are rather insensitive too.

  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Thursday July 24 2014, @12:09AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Thursday July 24 2014, @12:09AM (#73051)

    150 years ago it was considered fun to shoot buffalo from a moving train. Plenty of room for millions of bisons. Now we have a few pockets of cattle and it's a problem for the environment? Uh, no. Too many farking people farking up the environment is the problem.

    --
    The skulls of my enemies are much more enviromentally friendly than plastic cups. just sayin.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by dpp on Thursday July 24 2014, @01:29AM

      by dpp (3579) on Thursday July 24 2014, @01:29AM (#73072)

      This chart:
      http://xkcd.com/1338/ [xkcd.com]
      Does a great job of detailing the issue.
      Look at the humans (plus animals 'used' by humans) - perhaps not shocking, but fairly horrifying demonstration of the lack a balance.

    • (Score: 2) by dry on Thursday July 24 2014, @05:30AM

      by dry (223) on Thursday July 24 2014, @05:30AM (#73142) Journal

      Perhaps they should be raising bison instead of cattle, bison is tasty and similar to beef.