back to article Norfolk town's schools first to be heated by burning cattle

A "trailblazing" Norfolk town has begun heating many of its buildings - including the schools - by burning oil made from melted-down cow and pig carcasses. The strategy is described as "equal or lower in carbon footprint than natural gas". News of the 12-month biofuelled heating trial comes courtesy of the University of East …


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  1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    How long before we see

    Soylent Green on the school menus...

  2. Steve

    Carbon Footprint

    "If you can ignore the carbon footprint of making the animals and their fat in the first place - which is 80 per cent of tallow biofuel's overall footprint* - the stuff becomes quite green"

    If you're only using animals that have been raised and slaughtered for food, then I don't think there's anything wrong with ignoring that if it's already being counted into the carbon footprint for the meat that was produced.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Baa-lambs? Baa humbug!

    " the piggies, cows and baa-lambs? "

    Reepham is a rural town in a heavily agricultural country. The children could probably tell you the breeds of animals they see around them. I think they already know where meat comes from.

    Ps non East Anglians needn't bother with sheep-shagging jokes - that's the Welsh you're thinking of.

  4. Nic Brough


    I think vegetarians should approve - the animals are dead already, why waste the oil?

    The vege's who don't like the way we farm animals are looking at the other end of the cycle - the actual demand for animals as food. I could understand objections if the animals were being farmed just for their oils, but they aren't, it's a by-product. if it were just oil, the farmers would grow a plant it's easy to convert into heating oil - far more efficient.

    Oh, although if the heating goes wrong and the smell of cooking bacon wafts through the school too often...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This little piggy went to...?

    Mummy, why does the boiler smell like Sunday lunch?

  6. Tanuki
    Thumb Up

    Organic Petrol!

    If they can refine the pigs/cows further (and throw in a touch of cat-cracking) trhey can produce Organic Petrol!

    Of course this will then horrify the Greens, since it will allow guilt-free driving.

    There could be problems with Organic Petrol though; if it contained pig-fat it would be neither Halal nor Kosher -and if it included rendered-down cows then Hindus could have a problem with it too.

    Coat? The oiled-leather one.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Norfolk ing chance.

    So, let me get this right, instead of burning moo cows and baa lambs you want them to burn vegetarians?

    Seems a bit extreme to me but I guess your average veggie does produce more methane than the average carnivore so I could see the figures working out from a greenhouse gas perspective.

    Paris, I've had a crap day and I just want to OK?

  8. A J Stiles

    Vegetarian Fuel?

    Why should anyone suddenly have to start offering vegetarian heating fuels?

    Coal, oil and natural gas are nothing like vegetarian .....

    Seriously, though, the other important thing to note is that this initiative is specifically about using *inedible* biological materials, which probably would otherwise have ended up in shallow landfills, decomposing to methane; which in its unburned state is 20 times more damaging than its own combustion products.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm disappointed you felt the need to raise the vegivegan angle, there is enough pandering to those cabbage murdering, carrot torturing health freaks, I'm sure their own methane production is enough carbon footprinting for them to worry about.

    Eat meat and save the world, go forth and proclaim the good news

    Meetings every Sunday at the church of the Golden Arches....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Veggie kids

    should be give (naturally blown down) sticks to rub together.Probably still wet since they can't dry them out. Sooner they are out of the gene pool the better.

    And what to do with their scrawny little bodies.....

  11. Mike Crawshaw

    I wait with bated breath..

    For a Muslim / Jewish (they both regard the pig as unclean) spokesperson to decide that their religion is more important and,if you'll pardon the expression, kick up a stink...

    (or, perhaps more probably, for Nick Griffin to claim that they are to try and stir it up a bit.)

    Kudos for imagination though. I understand in Norfolk (from a colleague who comes from that way - understandable enough with a phrasebook) that they used to do something similar with chickenshit. Which just leaves too many jokes available to even think about....!

  12. Chris Branch
    Dead Vulture

    Veggie heating?

    One only has to ask them what they think produced the oil they fuel their cars and heat their homes with.

    Answer lies in the grave...

  13. Anonymous Coward


    1. Create new market for animal byproducts.

    2. Make meat production cheaper.

    3a. Make meat production more profitable. and/or

    3b. Make meat consumption cheaper.

    4. Anyway up, produce more greenhouse gases by producing more meat.

    5. Label as a green initiative.

    Looks confused, but also feels guilty about leather shoe wearing vegetarianism. Gains small amount of comfort as people of Norfolk hasten their slide in to the North Sea, confirming what everyone was thinking about them all along.

    Flammable, because cows burn now, people burn later.

  14. Anonymous John

    All we need now

    is another Foot and Mouth outbreak.

  15. Daniel
    Dead Vulture


    As a vegetarian I would insist that the local crematorium also be included in the co-generation of steam for heating. That would make things equal. Alternatively, rendered (lard? tallow?) from fat dead people (none of the fresh lipo stuff) could also be rendered in the same plant - it does say that *any* kind of animal could be used, right? If this is not feasible I'd have to sit outside the school window and listen in by wireless microphone - a bit cold this time of year. Alternatively, I could wear a water-cooling suit so as to not benefit from the heat.

  16. raving angry loony

    must know

    Does this mean the school cafeteria gets a discount on low-fat beef and pork?

  17. BossHog

    Grey Squirrels

    Problem solved.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The future?

    One wonders which local municipality is going to build the first CHP crematorium

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Dave Bell

    Are we burning food?

    If you are an omnivore, you will know about the use of lard and other animal fats in traditionsl cooking. Some of this stuff is waste only because we are scared to eat it.

    There are other reasons. Some of the waste comes from diseased livestock. I just hope the processing and burning is done right.

  22. Mike Richards

    More biofuels

    Anyone up for a spot of whaling? Free-range, organic heating fuel and all the corsets you could want.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Screw the vegans.

    If they're imposing their "vegan way" on their kids, prepare for some really weak grownups in the future. I say let the kids decide: the animals are already going to be slaughtered, even if the vegans won't eat them.

    Flames rise higher with animal fat, hence the icon.

  24. Anonymous Scotsman

    @ more biofuels

    And they make for some damn good eating (whale w/ soy sauce = nifty).

    While I may not have a uses for whalebone corsets( they'd probably be illegal anyway), I shouldd certainly like to see a scrimshaw'd keyboard.

    Even a non-whale one for that matter.

  25. A J Stiles

    @ Dave Bell

    Burning them in a boiler with a flue is a lot better at killing any germs that may be present than burning them on open bonfires, where the uncontrolled draughts can carry huge numbers of unharmed micro-organisms away from the fire. This is why we only started to see reductions in new foot-and-mouth cases in the 2001 outbreak when we switched to burying carcasses.

    Using human corpses as fuel wouldn't be a bad idea, either -- how many megajoules are going up crematorium chimbleys without any attempt at recovery? I've often said I'd like to end up in a power station when I'm dead.

  26. Simpson

    Soylent Moo

    "The children are enthusiastic about cutting carbon emissions and we have energy monitors for each class,"

    energy monitors for each class?

    Class as in class of 2008, or class as in classroom?

    Sounds like the Green version of the hitler youth

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Incinerating holy symbols?

    "For a Muslim / Jewish (they both regard the pig as unclean) spokesperson to decide that their religion is more important ..."

    No, Jews are unlikely to mind. They don't *eat* pork, but they've nothing against pigs as such. That pigs are "unclean" is a Muslim thing (same goes for dogs). Whether that means that Muslims would object to being heated by pigs burned as fuel and go on a anti-education-authority jihad I just don't know. Maybe they wouldn't care if they don't have to see or touch them; maybe not.

    If we're to discuss the "religious" angle, I wonder, on the other hand, what Hindus will make of burning cows for fuel. The cow is sacred to Hindus. I'm not sure people are comfortable with burning what's sacred for fuel - although there's a Zen story about a monk who burnt a statue of the Buddha to keep warm thereby proving his detachment, so that it was actually a religious act. But Zen is Zen. In general "religious" people are less detached and mind about incinerating holy symbols.

  28. Stevie


    "Dead fat people"???


  29. ian

    Cow oil?

    What exactly is the flash point of a pig? Can I run my car on bangers?

  30. David Wilkinson

    animal derived matterials are everywhere

    Glycerin derived from animal fat its found in cosmetics, foods, mouthwashes, chewing gum, toothpastes, soaps, ointments, medicines, lubricants, transmission and brake fluid, plastics ...

    That is just one example, pretty much everything you own has some animal source materials in it. Yes there are often alternatives but many are not as good and all of them are a lot more expensive.

  31. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Strictly speaking, tallow is from cattle and lard is from pigs

    I can't explain it, but I really pleased to have learned that. Thank you, el Reg!

    Every day I'm learning something new. Of course, one day I'll die and forget it all, but no system is perfect.

  32. Nathanael Bastone
    Thumb Up

    Hello! Leather-shoe-wearing-veggie here!

    I am all in favour if this, (mind you, I am a veggie for health reasons, not animal welfare per-say [oh, and I don't give a monkeys for this so-called 'global-warming' malarky, sounds like a kettle of old fish to me... which brings me back to my main point...]) , why not recycle things that would otherwise go to waste? seems sound to me.

  33. Allan Dyer Silver badge

    The Goodies

    Anybody remember the Goodies episode featuring dogs as fuel in an open fire?

  34. tony

    bernard matthews

    Norfolk, shouldn't that be turkeys they are burning ?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    At last, a use for politicians and lawyers. (I suggest we DON'T wait for them to die first).

  36. Wize

    Let them freeze

    What would be the change to the current system where the product of dead animals is being used to heat the place?

    If they are the 'pure vegies', the kind that don't wear leather in their shoes, they should be reminded that the plastics in their shoes and clothes are oil derrived. And that everything they have has some input from a meat eater. Turf them out naked in the snow.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people!

    Just another initiative to reduce our carbon footprint.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Skip The Middleman

    If we just dump people into the furnace, particularly those who utter the words "carbon footprint", then no need to raise the animals for food, we can replant the rain forest torn down to raise cattle.

    Used to be, people had common sense. If how they attained resources necessary for their survival mattered, they'd not put themselves in that position. This is not green, this about convenience and a mindless feel-good zombie sheep mentality. Sheep should not be exempt from the furnace if the cows and pigs are in line.

  39. Roger Heathcote

    @Anonymous coward @Wize

    "Veggie kids <snip> should be give (naturally blown down) sticks to rub together.Probably still wet since they can't dry them out. Sooner they are out of the gene pool the better. And what to do with their scrawny little bodies....."

    Did you just say that ? ? ?


    I don't know what's happening to old El Reg of late but the comments pages are starting to read like the Daily Mail. Ironically it has got me wondering "is our country going to the dogs?".

    Certainly our country doesn't seem to have a basic grasp of economics. The creation of a new market for so called by-products makes the main product cheaper, you can't just ignore that although the proponents of this scheme seem determined to do exactly that.

    Also, somewhere along the line people here seem to have got the it into their ignorant skulls that all vegetarians are somehow out to get them, take their cars away and force them to wear sandals, grow up! Vegetarians are just people who don't eat meat, there's no big conspiracy and they're entitled to their viewpoint just like you douches are.

    As for you "Wize" with your... "they should be reminded that the plastics in their shoes and clothes are oil derrived. And that everything they have has some input from a meat eater. Turf them out naked in the snow."

    Firstly, learn to fucking spell if you want to be taken seriously. Secondly, learn to think too.

    The attitudes "use as little as you can" and "use as much as you can" are different and contradictory.

    Also you seem to readily confuse the people who are adherents of "use as little as you can" attitude vis-a-vis fossil fuels with people who are vegetarian, a viewpoint about food that may be down to wealth, health, environmental concern, personal taste or religion.

    Of course, I wouldn't turf you out in the snow for your obnoxious, ignorant opinions, but I might melt you down for your tallow.

    Roger Heathcote.

  40. Alex King

    @ Roger Heathcote

    "Blah blah moral high-ground, blah blah pompous twaddle, blah blah I'm cleverer than you, blah blah whinge whine grump moan insult shoot self in foot."

    Sorry, had to paraphrase a little there, but surely someone of your intellect could recognise a joke when they see one? No? Oh well.

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