Would You Buy a Chocolate Fueled Car?

You may think that chocolate beet cake and chocolate dyed clothing is kind of extreme, but wait until you get a load of the chocolate fueled car.

At first consideration, a chocolate fueled car sounds about as logical as one that burns water instead of gasoline or diesel. But the fact is, both are in the works -- in a sense. Neither actually burns chocolate or water directly, but each type processes its respective products to produce burnable fuel.

Choco-fuel? This could be a discovery on par with the realization that the slimy black stuff that came out of our petroleum wells back in the 19th century was actually useful. In this article, we'll fill you in on not one but two methods by which chocolate can be turned into automobile fuel -- believe it or not.

Two delightful chocolate fuels

Apparently (and we find this hard to believe) some chocolate gets thrown away. If quality-control personnel at Cadbury think a chocolate egg is the wrong shape, off it goes to the landfill with its misshapen brethren. While that's a terrible waste, you may be thinking, what does this have to do with chocolate fueled cars?

Everything. As it turns out, so-called "chocolate waste" can be made into fuel. There are two ways to do it: you can have bacteria covert it into burnable hydrogen gas, or you can make it into biodiesel.

The hydrogen connection

One approach to the reality of the chocolate fueled car has been in the works for several years now. It involves taking chocolate waste and feeding to the famous Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, which ferments the waste and produces hydrogen gas.

While the research is still in its initial stages, it shows great promise. Not only does the process reduce the amount of waste in a simple, natural fashion, in laboratory tests it produced enough hydrogen to power a fuel cell that ran a small fan. The only waste product? Pure water.

Chocolate diesel

If the hydrogen fuel cell doesn't do it for you, and you don't want to wait another ten years for your chocolate fueled car to be developed, you can always opt for chocolate -flavored biodiesel. Recently, two Britons used biodiesel made from three tons of chocolate waste to drive from England to Timbuktu.

In late 2007, alternative fuel advocates Andy Pag and John Grimshaw made the 4,500-mile trip as a proof-of-concept demonstration, using 396 gallons of diesel made by mixing chocolate-derived ethanol with vegetable oil. Ultimately, they used less carbon on their trip than they would have staying home.

So, now you can have your white chocolate, your dark chocolate, your milk chocolate and everything else -- and you can have it green, too. Thank goodness for human genius, which looks like it'll not only save us from our own untidiness, but will provide us with chocolate fueled cars along the way!