BEIJING — Chinese authorities have battled to get rid of gutter oil in the country’s kitchens for years, cracking down on illegal oil production rings since 2011.
But now it seems the black market oil used in streetside stalls could be the same one powering up airplane engines.
Gutter oil came about as a cheap way to produce cooking oil, which is popular in Chinese cooking, according to the Washington Post.
Waste containing used oil or animal fat is first scooped up from sewers, gutters, or dumpsters and taken to processing plants. After the mixture is refined and processed, the oil is repackaged and sold to vendors and small restaurants at below market prices.
As reprocessed sewage, gutter oil contains carcinogens which may lead to cancer and other health problems. But with the disgusting oil served up in cheap street eats, unsuspecting foodies may be none the wiser.
Other countries have long used recycled oil, not for cooking but for industrial purposes, something China only caught on to in recent years.
In 2014, Boeing partnered with a Chinese aircraft company to turn gutter oil into sustainable biofuel, according to Agence France-Presse.
After a Hainan airlines flight flew from Shanghai to Beijing last March on a 50-50 mix of gutter oil and jet fuel, we might be seeing more commercial flights making use of the biofuel, according to the Telegraph.
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