Buckle up because we’re taking a train ride fueled by ramen. Yes, the noodly food with the broth that can’t be beat.
The magic of ramen
It turns out that the magic of ramen in Japan extends beyond the bowl. Japan’s love affair with ramen has led to an invention that’s a perfect fusion of ingenuity and sustainability: the ramen-fueled train.
In Japan’s Miyazaki Prefecture, there’s a popular sightseeing train on the Amaterasu Railway. It takes you through scenic landscapes in style. And it runs on an unexpected sustainable fuel source: leftover ramen oil!
Yes, you read it right – the waste oil from ramen noodles is now a green energy source.
How does a train fueled by ramen work?
So, how does a bowl of ramen morph into train fuel?
According to Mental Floss (cited below) reporting from My Modern Met:
“As of the latter half of 2022, it runs on tonkotsu ramen broth salvaged from local restaurants. A Japanese trucking company called Nishida Logistics extracts pork fat from the stock and refines it; it’s then mixed with old oils used to fry foods like tempura. The final formula consists of 90 percent cooking oil and 10 percent ramen broth lard.”
Ramen as fuel for green energy
Now, let’s shine the spotlight on the ecological benefits of this ramen revolution. Every liter of biodiesel reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 2.5 kg compared to regular diesel. In one year, the train is estimated to utilize around 21,000 liters of biodiesel. It’s not just a drop in the ocean. It’s a significant leap towards carbon neutrality.
But, the benefits of this initiative extend beyond reducing carbon footprints. By utilizing waste oil, it helps reduce disposal costs and risks associated with waste oil. Simultaneously, it offers an additional income stream to ramen shops that otherwise would have to pay to dispose of the excess oil.
Another noteworthy facet of this project is its community involvement. The biodiesel is sourced from local ramen shops, promoting a sense of community participation in sustainable practices.
While the ramen-fueled train is a unique case, it represents a broader shift towards sustainable energy sources in transportation. The ingenuity of using a readily available waste product showcases the limitless possibilities for sustainable energy.
From a bowl of ramen to the sweeping landscapes of the town of Takachiho, the journey of this energy-efficient train tells a tale of environmental stewardship. The ramen-fueled train is not just a sightseeing marvel; it stands as a testament to Japan’s pioneering spirit in tackling environmental challenges head-on.
So, the next time you find yourself in Japan, relishing a bowl of delicious ramen, remember – you’re not just feeding your stomach, but also fuelling a greener future. Now, that’s food for thought!