Renewable energy — burn dead cows!

There’s even more talk now about alternative energy sources — spurred by President Bush’s State of the Union address where he said:

We must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017 — and that is nearly five times the current target. (Applause.)

While most of the talk in the U.S. focuses on ethanol (with its huge subsidies and more to come), some countries, such as Scotland, are trying a different path to alternative energy sources: Burning dead cows.

The BBC reported that a new 24 million-pound project in Aberdeenshire will “turn dead cows into an energy source.” They’re going to get the dead animals and parts from local abattoirs, install new equipment in the abattoirs, subject the cow carcasses to heat blasts of 1,000C for two seconds, and generate energy for the National Grid.

Don’t worry about the usually horrible smells from rendering meat and bones and entrails (I worked for a couple of years around the corner from a rendering plant in Buffalo, so I know whereof I speak). The high-temperature blast will “dispel any odours,” officials said.

I wish President Bush had learned about this before his SOTU — “Let’s burn dead cows!” would have made a great renewable energy slogan that would have brought the Congressional audience to its feet.