Friday, 15 July 2011

Fuel crisis

One of the burdens faced by the modern NHS is the enormous morbidity associated with obesity. The prevalence of obesity among British adults is now estimated to be 25%, or of the order of 12.5 million individuals. 

Bariatric surgery is now increasingly available as an NHS treatment adding yet more expenditure to an over stretched service, but as yet liposuction can not be obtained and is only available privately. This is a shame as there is a way in which this procedure could in fact generate some money for the NHS, as this enterprising doctor in the USA has shown.

When I read this article I started wondering just how much potential motor fuel is currently being carried on the thighs, bums and bellies of British fatties. What follows is a back of an envelope calculation which is unlikely to be terribly accurate but is probably within the right order of magnitude.

Liposuction typically removes about 3 litres of human fat. My internet research indicates a biodiesel yield from animal fat of up to 90%.

So 3 litres multiplied by 12.5 million comes to 37.5 million litres, which could yield 33.75 million litres of biodiesel. With diesel currently selling at £1.40/l at the pumps that 33.75 million litres has a value of almost 50 million pounds.

So let’s not be so scathing about our pie eating lardbucket population. They could be part of the answer to our energy crisis.


  1. Brilliant! I shall be eating more cake forthwith in order to do my bit for the NHS ;-)

  2. Did you say bariatric surgery is increasingly available? Not in Wales it ain't. Our guidelines say the punters need a BMI of at least 50. But then they're too much af an anesthetic risk anyway - doh!

  3. BMI of 50? In Wales doesn't that count as anorexia?