Cattle cars 

It's not something we would think of, but kudos to Amtrak for taking the beefy initiative when it comes to biodiesel.

According to The Associated Press, the Heartland Flyer started an experiment last week to run its Oklahoma-to-Texas train on cattle. What part of the cow, you ask? The fat part.

Specifically, tallow, which is a fat that is apparently often used in soap (!) and animal feed (!!). Animal feed? Reused cow fat in animal food? Isn't that entering some "Soylent Green" territory? Anyway, the tallow is being fixed with regular ol' diesel for a yearlong test to see if the train can efficiently run on the concoction.

"We can join energy (and) agriculture and protect the environment," Terry Peach, the appropriately named agriculture secretary, said, according to AP.

Earlier tests reportedly found that the so-called "B20 mixture" produces less carbon monoxide and sulfates. The Federal Railroad Administration gave Amtrak $274,000 to run the experiment.

"At the end of this 12-month trial, we'll go back and look at the engine assemblies and gaskets and valves and make sure there's no impact," said Roy Deitchman, the vice president for environmental, health and safety issues with Amtrak.

"We use about 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year to move 84,000 people on the Heartland Flyer," Deitchman said. "Twenty percent of that is now biodiesel."

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