|Motor oil: Soon to be another animal
Another very good reason to give up driving... In what way is
cows something like 40 calories of fossil fuel input for every
calorie out (David Pimentel's estimate) greening automotive oil?
just cost many more cows their lives, speed the depletion of
and accelerate global warming. Stupid and heartless.
The New York Times
February 11, 2009
Goes 'Green,' With the Help of Some Cows
By JIM MOTAVALLI
oil would seem to be a good candidate for a green makeover,
because Americans use so much of it, and often dispose of
According to a survey by the National Petrochemical
Association, 585 million gallons of engine oil, under a
huge number of brand
names, were sold for gasoline engines in 2007.
Standard motor oil is not
exactly environmentally friendly,
especially once it is used. The Department
of Health and Human
Services says oil can contain such toxic substances as
zinc and cadmium. Consumers are urged to dispose of used oil
at recycling centers, including local garages.
automotive-products company in Stamford, Conn., has not
solved the recycling
problem, it says it has developed a way to make
engine oil a bit greener.
And the solution involves cows - thousands
Green Earth Technologies, has been selling G-Oil since
last May. The oil is
made from beef tallow and is a byproduct of the
According to Dr. Mat Zuckerman, the company
president, one cow yields 110
quarts of oil. In the Oklahoma
panhandle some 50,000 cattle are processed
every day within 150 miles
of the company's plant in Guymon. Does that make
G-Oil green and a
renewable resource? Dr. Zuckerman said he thought
"We could make all the motor oil the country needs from 50,000 cows a
day," he said. "It doesn't have to be made of petroleum."
G-Oil is sold in Home Depot and other stores, the product is
for small two-
and four-cycle engines (lawnmowers, weed whackers) and
is used in auto
racing. Certification for use in cars and trucks is
pending from the
American Petroleum Institute.
Dennis Bachelder, a senior engineer with
the institute's licensing
department, said he had certified many different
oils, but G-Oil was
a first for him. He said he was reviewing G-Oil's data
and had not
found anything to keep the product from receiving certification.
verdict could be delivered within weeks.
But as with
petroleum-based engine oil, G-Oil should not be dumped on
"We're working on that issue for people who change their own oil,
we're not quite there yet with a cradle-to-grave answer," Dr.
Zuckerman said. "For now, we recommend taking our oil to a recycling
Engine-oil additives have also been going
Motor Silk is an additive made from the element boron and
oil. Advanced Lubrication Technology of Agoura Hills, Calif., the
company that makes the additive, said it was biodegradable and
The company also said that its additive reduced engine
friction so much that
it could improve fuel economy by 10 to 20
percent and reduce greenhouse gas
Mike Phelps, the chief executive, said his company licensed
technology, which was developed at Argonne National Laboratory near
Chicago in 1995. "We spent three years in development work and got it
the market in 1998," he said. The product has been used mainly by
said, but was recently offered online to retail customers.
In an e-mail
message, Argonne said it found that the addition of
boron into base oils
could reduce friction by up to 60 percent.
However, on the Web site of
Advanced Lubrication Technology, the
company implies that the technology was
developed by Argonne for the
space program. Brock Cooper, a spokesman for
Argonne, said in an
e-mail message that the technology was "not developed
for NASA, the
shuttle or aerospace use."
Mr. Phelps said he had been
told "over the years" that the product
was originally intended for use on
space flights, but that it did not
perform properly in a vacuum.