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"A society built on green design, sustainable energy and closed loop systems, a civilization afloat on a cloud of efficient, non-toxic, recyclable technology." ~~Alex Nikolai Steffan

9.16.2006

BIODIESEL SPEEDBOAT

Fuel by the numbers Gallons of biodiesel that can be made from one acre of soybeans: 50 Arable acres in the US: 427 million Gallons of gasoline used by the average American driver in a year: 464 Drivers in the US: 198 million Arable acres needed to make enough biodiesel for all of them: 1.8 billion

How much sacrifice for the earth? Change a few light bulbs, turn up the thermostat on the air conditioner by a smidge, drive one less trip per week?

It seems that New Zealand adventurer and former oil company employee, Peter Bethune, wanted to enter a speedboat contest run entirely on renewable fuels. Except that instead of soy or corn Bethune planned to use body fat--his own.

After seeing this kind of commitment to the environment in a recent Wired Magazine, I decided to see how he was doing in the race that started in May 2006. Since, as the Wired article pointed out,
nobody's butt is big enough to sustain a 27,600-mile journey, he donated the first 100 ml (about a liter of fuel), the rest comes from vegetable oils and other animal fats.

Mr. Bethune was quoted as saying, "Liposuction hurts. I was bruised all over. It was a personal sacrifice." Still, it was a great wasy to promote his speedboat contest for his company Earthrace.


The race is now currently planned for Sep - Oct 2006. He hopes to finish in 65 days - 10 days faster than the current speedboat record. Here's the 27,600 mile Race Route:

Barbados - Panama - Acapulco - San Diego - Hawaii - Majuro - Koror - Singapore - Maldives - Aden - Port Said - Malaga - Canary Islands - Barbados.

His eco-friendly vessel, Earthrace, is a 78-foot trimaran capable of hitting 45 knots (58 mph).

Follow the outcome at Earthrace. *note to readers: NEWS UPDATE: Earthrace has been forced to abandon its record attempt after the boat sustained storm damage just out from Malaga, Spain.

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