Where's the Beef? Amtrak has it

The states of Texas and Oklahoma, Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration have teamed up for what they say is the first test of a passenger train powered by beef byproducts.

The renewable biodiesel fuel blend is powering the Heartland Flyer, a daily interstate train between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth. Financed partly through a $274,000 federal grant, the fuel source includes beef byproducts provided by a company in Texas, Amtrak officials said.

Government and railroad officials already have a sense of how effective the blend will be. Previous stationary testing reduced hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide each by 10%, lowered particulates 15% and sulfates fell 20%.

Detailed measurements will be reviewed after a year. The Texas Beef Council was present at the kickoff in Fort Worth to give more information about the beefed-up service to passengers.

Amtrak says it has taken steps to embrace the green movement. Receptacles for recycling bottles and cans are available on every dining car, recyling programs are in effect at all Amtrak offices, idling times are reduced, passengers can buy carbon offsets and biolubricants are used in hydraulic systems.

Could this be the beginning of a new railroad trend? The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization will be following the developments.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization (SJVCEO) is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.