The days of thick clouds of toxic smoke billowing from train smokestacks may be numbered!
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In an effort to thwart climate change, inventors have been experimenting with biodiesels for decades. Biodiesel is fuel to power diesel engines that’s made from vegetable oil, animal fats, soybeans, or even cooking oil waste or leftover food. It’s better for the environment than fossil fuel and, as an added bonus, it leaves behind a more pleasant odor than traditional exhaust.
Amaterasu Railway, an open-air sightseeing train, has been converted to biodiesel. The tourist train now leaves behind plumes of yummy-smelling smoke as it chugs through scenic vistas in the Miyazaki Prefecture.
The train is adorable enough on its own, sporting a pink and white color scheme while boasting fun conductors who use bubble machines to create a magical ride through the mountains, tunnels, and rice fields it passes. The ride takes about 30-minutes, and it passes over Japan’s highest train bridge, which stands a staggering 344-feet tall.
Amaterasu Railway partnered with transportation company Nishida Logistics to convert the train to ramen-power. They source the leftover cooking oils and ramen broth from restaurants, reusing a product that would ordinarily be thrown away.
They make fuel by separating the fat from the soup and refining it. Unlike regular diesel, it can only be stored for just a few months before it goes bad, so it has to be used right away.
The train was converted to biodiesel in 2021, and test runs were overwhelmingly positive. The fuel is powerful enough to pull the train up steep mountains, it carries up to 60 people with ease, and costs about the same as regular diesel.
Ninety percent of the train’s biodiesel comes from cooking oils, and the remaining 10 percent comes from tonkotsu ramen broth. That’s why people report that the train leaves a pleasant “fried rice” aroma as it operates!
What a genius way to repurpose food waste, even if riding the train might make us hungry! Seems like a small price to pay to save the world, don’t you think?
Watch the video below to see the Amaterasu Railway in action (you’ll just have to imagine the aroma), and don’t forget to share.
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