"Saving the planet can be a real pain in the butt. Just ask Peter Bethune, who's powering his speedboat with biodiesel made of fat from his backside. In May, the 41-year-old New Zealander embarks on a voyage to promote the use of renewable fuels and to break the record for circumnavigating the globe. (Bethune hopes to finish in 65 days - 10 days faster than the current speedboat record.) His eco-friendly vessel, Earthrace, is a wave-piercing 78-foot trimaran capable of hitting 45 knots (58 mph). Of course, nobody's butt is big enough to sustain a 27,600-mile journey. Bethune's contribution amounts to only a liter of fuel; the rest comes from vegetable oils and other animal fats. Besides, liposuction hurts. 'I was bruised all over,' he says. 'It was a personal sacrifice.'The numbers at the end of the piece are a bit FUD-y though:
Fuel by the numbersOnly a small percentage (3% according to the San Diego Union Tribune) of cars on the road in the US are diesel-powered...
- 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