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Recycling Butter from State Fair into Fuel

 Posted by on September 7, 2011
Sep 072011

For years, the end of the New York State Fair meant the end of the road for the traditional butter sculpture. But now, the dairy delight is getting new life, thanks to some college students.

Like doctors prepping to operate, SUNY ESF students enter an icy-cold chamber and get to work, dismantling the fair's iconic butter sculpture.
(Reporter: Is it a little bit weird that this is a butter person?) "Yeah, a little weird. It is a little awkward, but it's pretty obvious that it's just butter."

It's butter that's been sitting out too long to eat. But that doesn't mean you can't put it to good use. Once scraped off, it's loaded into these drums, and will be taken to a lab at SUNY ESF esf to be melted down.

"We can take the solids out and it becomes just a fatty acid, and then we put it through a chemical reaction and turn it into bio-diesel," explains Jessica Bohn, a
research associate.

SUNY ESF says the 900 pounds of butter will add up to about 100 gallons of bio-diesel, which will be used to fuel vehicles back on campus.

"We started doing this years ago, just to demonstrate that very principle — that you can make something quite valuable out of something other people just perceive as maybe junk," says Dan Nicholson, a student at SUNY ESF.

Four years ago, the butter sculpture was considered junk when the fair came to an end, thrown out and left to melt in the trash. Now it's given new life, going from yellow, to green.

(Reported by James Gaddis)