Biodiesel Powered Boat Makes World Record Attempt Using Human Fat As Fuel


This isn’t the first attempt  at the world record for global circumnavigation by Pete Bethune’s EARTHRACE; a futuristic looking watercraft heralded as the fastest eco boat on the planet.  According to this article in The Daily Mail

Bethune and his wife mortgaged their house and sold everything they own to help make the project happen, while continuing to seek support from sponsors.

Demonstrating further commitment to the cause, Bethune underwent liposuction and donated enough to produce 100ml of biofuel, while two other, larger volunteers also had the procedure, making a total of 10 liters of human fat.

This in turn produced seven liters of biofuel, which could help the boat travel about 15km.

Which I think is probably a first for…well…anyone or anything.


The first attempt at setting a world record started in Barbados on March 10, 2007 but it ended in tragedy as the boat collided with a fishing boat near Guatemala killing one of the boats crew.  The Earthrace and crew were held for 10 days while awaiting a judge’s decision on the accident.  All were eventually cleared but by that time they had failed in their attempt.  Then the second attempt was launched; this time leaving from San Diego on April 3rd, 2007 but had to be aborted when a crack was discovered in the hull.

But people who are willing to liposuction fat out of their bodies for fuel are not the type to give up at something like a cracked hull.  In March of 2008 the Earthrace will again set out from Spain in an attempt to set the world record for global circumnavigation; all the while contributing zero carbon to the atmosphere.  Let’s hope that the third time’s the charm.

6 thoughts on “Biodiesel Powered Boat Makes World Record Attempt Using Human Fat As Fuel”

  1. I find it hard to reconcile that this will be ‘carbon neutral’. Something like 185,000 litres of biodiesel will be consumed by this effort – how is the unnecessary expense of 185,000 litres of biodiesel in any way ‘carbon neutral’ ?

    More like a rich kid with a new toy trying to justify their existence…

  2. biodiesel, 100 percent biodiesel, only has carbon that was pulled from the air by whatever the bio source is…plant, animal, rich kid eating the preceeding and having it vacuumed out of them…

    therefore it does not introduce any new carbon into the enviroment like fuels that are pulled from the ground.

    That said, these people mortgaged and sold everything they have to build this boat so I I’m not sure it’s accurate to label them as “rich kids with a new toy” (although obviously they are doing better than I am)

    Some people ARE trying to show off or justify their existance. Some people are just trying to make a statement and are willing to sacrifice for it. Sometimes it’s a little of both. I know I personally am in no place to judge someone else.

  3. Excellent idea for liposuction promo. All you can eat fuel cell technolgy. Phat pharm cruise lines. You cruise-you lose. Brings a whole new insight on the food for fuel debate. Why go low carb when you can eat, drink,cuise on a ferry and have a carbon neutral footprint. All you can eat food for fuel buffet cruise lines-Skinny people need not apply. Have fat will travel. Free food for fuel cruise lines. Have your cake and eat it for fuel. Intensive factory phat pharm american style. Supersize this.

  4. I operate an 1883 built steam passenger vessel on the Thames. We don’t burn coal anymore but use compressed recycled wood shavings from a wood machining plant. All of the wood comes from sustainable forestry and is FSC approved. Beats burning human fat and palm oil and certainly smells better. By the way, has anyone calculated the consumption of this round the world boat in terms of kg per passenger mile – I wouldn’t mind betting that it would be greener and more economical to strap a diesel fiesta onto a few old pallets. I think that Bethune would have been better burning all that biodiesl to run his car and central heating for the rest of his life.

  5. there is a boat for everyone. this guy could have done much better than this to save the planet. He did this to gain attention and popularity.
    i do not believe he is in this for a purpose greater than himself. i could be wrong, but i doubt it.

Comments are closed.