Hormel Wants to Fuel Motorcycles With Bacon Grease

The maker of Spam joins the sustainability game.

(Photo: Ray Lego/Getty Images)
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

America’s obsession with bacon shows no signs of abating. And Hormel—maker of Farmer John meat products and Spam—is adding fuel to the fire by converting bacon grease to biofuel.

The Minnesota-based food giant has built a diesel motorcycle that can run on the cured meat’s by-product.

“We actually [used] the grease from our Rochelle, Ill., plant,” Hormel brand manager Nick Schweitzer told ABC 6 News. It will be converted into B100 fuel, which yields almost zero hazardous waste, according to Scott Schraufnagel, who works for the ad agency that came up with the idea. He said that one pound of bacon material equals about a gallon of “pig fuel.” The savory biofuel costs around $3.50 per gallon, which can power the bike for 75 to 100 miles.

And yes, it will smell like bacon as you cruise.

“We are working with a bacon lover who’s going to be riding the bike starting a cross-country trip where we’ll be going from Austin, Minn., to San Diego, Calif.,” Schraufnagel told ABC 6 News. The journey will be included in the documentary Driven by Bacon, which is set to premiere at the San Diego Bacon Fest in late August.

Of course, the approach begs the question, How sustainable is it? Producing bacon and other pork products in the first place generates carbon emissions. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, swine production accounts for 44 percent of methane emissions from manure in the United States. Bio-Blend Fuels, a Wisconsin-based plant that converted pork fat to fuel for cars, shut down in January because of Renewable Fuel Standard “woes.”

But you can’t blame the brand for trying, and it might even inspire more innovations from the meat industry.

“If there were a bacon biodiesel tanker spill in the ocean, the fuel would be safe and mouthwatering fish food,” a project organizer told The Washington Times. After the cross-country journey, the bike will be displayed at the Spam Museum in Austin, Minn. 

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