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Camryn Hansen
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One Man's Fat is Another Man's Gasoline – CA Plastic Surgeon Used Liposuction Waste to Power his SUV

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Lawsuits filed by liposuction patients against California plastic surgeon Craig Alan Bittner for allegedly allowing his assistant and girlfriend to perform surgeries without a medical license (removing too much fat in some cases, and leaving clients disfigured) have led to disturbing findings on the energy front: for quite some time, Bittner was using his patients’ suctioned fat to power his SUV.

"The vast majority of my patients request that I use their fat for fuel–and I have more fat than I can use," Bittner wrote on lipodiesel.com. "Not only do they get to lose their love handles or chubby belly but they get to take part in saving the Earth." Bittner’s lipodiesel Web site is no longer online. -Peter C. Beller, Forbes.

By now, most of us are familiar with biodiesel, the natural-source fuel made by chemically altering vegetable oil or animal fats to burn at the same rate as petroleum diesel. Eco-conscious car owners all over Europe and the United States have converted their vehicles to run on it. Though people are generally tickled to hear about the old neighborhood hippie who goes around collecting used restaurant fryer oil to power his car for free, 21st century biodiesel sources are not always this endearing. Poultry companies are exploring the idea of powering their trucks on rendered chicken fat, and biodiesel companies are already mixing beef and pig fat into their soybean bio blends.

A gallon of grease will get you about a gallon of fuel, and drivers can get about the same amount of mileage from fat fuel as they do from regular diesel, according to Jenna Higgins of the National Biodiesel Board. Animal fats need to undergo an additional step to get rid of free fatty acids not present in vegetable oils, but otherwise, there’s no difference, she says. -Peter C. Beller, Forbes.

Though Bittner had no chemical trouble rendering his patients’ unwanted fats into usable fuels, it is illegal in California to power vehicles with human medical waste. The public health department is currently investigating Bittner’s behavior. Bittner, in the meantime, has closed his Beverly Hills Liposculpture practice and moved to South America.