Viridian Note 00165: Mad Cows as Fuel

Bruce Sterling []

Key concepts
biomass energy, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, utter unlikeliness of the contemporary epoch

Attention Conservation Notice: Of dubious relevance to the issue at hand, but way, way up the scale on the Viridian Weirdness Meter.

Entries in the Greenhouse Disaster Symbol contest:

Bob Morris's Viridian Contest Repository:

And the winner, among a strong field of contestants, is: Jason Cole (*) for the entry at: This symbol is strong, simple, cheap, and true to the physical nature of greenhouse disaster. Jason Cole's prize is a copy of the United Nations-sponsored book, ART AND SURVIVAL: The Illustrator and the Environment.

Associated Press, NewsEdge Corporation June 5, 02000

"Mad Cow Remains Fuel Power Station

"LONDON (AP) via NewsEdge Corporation British cattle slaughtered during the crisis over mad cow disease are finding new life == as a source of electricity.

    "The Glanford power station in Lincolnshire, central England, has begun incinerating the remains of animals destroyed due to fears of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease.

    "The station had previously burned poultry litter, but switched over to cattle meat and bonemeal about two weeks ago. Its consumption of 250 metric tons a day produces enough electricity to power a small town.

    "BSE is a brain-wasting cattle disease that appeared in Britain in the mid 1990s. Experts believe its human form, a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, can be contracted by eating contaminated beef.

    "In 1996, the European Union banned imports of British beef and Britain banned cattle older than 30 months from the food chain. Millions of cattle were slaughtered, and almost half a million tonnes of dried meat and bonemeal has since been stockpiled in secure sheds.

    "The Environment Agency granted permission to Glanford's owners, Fibrogen, as part of a scheme to destroy the massive stockpile of animal waste. Fibrogen has a three-year contract to burn 85,000 tons of animal remains a year, and two other contractors are believed to be interested in opening similar incinerators.

    "Fibrogen Managing Director Rupert Fraser said the station meets stringent environmental standards and there is no danger of BSE-infected material escaping into the atmosphere.

    "'We are very confident the risk to the public is absolutely negligible,' he said. 'It's infinitesimally small.'"

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