Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Craig Alan Bittner was, until recently, stealing a scene from Fight Club and Tyler Durden's lipo-soap by using the fat extracted from his patients for biodiesel.
Bittner was a supposed environmentalist who took advantage of the fact that biodiesel is made from fat and human fat (like any animal fat) is mostly the same. In an apparent violation of California law that requires that medical waste be incinerated without environmental benefit, he reportedly converted his patients' fat to biodiesel for him and his girlfriend to use in their SUVs.
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.
Greenies like the fact that waste, such as coffee grounds and french-fry grease, can be turned into power. "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.
Bittner's no longer driving his lipo-diesel-mobile because he's fled to Peru to avoid charges that he allowed unlicensed members of his staff to perform (and botch) liposuction procedures.
The real question, though, is that since biodiesel tends to have a faint tailpipe smell of whatever was cooked in the fat from which it was derived (fries, Mexican food, etc.), what in the world did Bittner's car smell like? Or was it just another tall tale?
Fill 'Er Up With Human Fat [Forbes]