The Train Fueled By Ramen

It turns out that the magic of ramen in Japan extends beyond the bowl. The country’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 passengers through scenic landscapes in style, but it runs on an unexpected sustainable fuel source: leftover ramen oil. So how does a bowl of ramen morph into train fuel? The train runs on tonkotsu ramen broth that’s salvaged from local restaurants. A Japanese trucking company called Nishida Logistics extracts pork fat from the stock and refines it. It is then mixed with old oils used to fry foods like tempura. The final formula consists of 90% cooking oil and 10% ramen broth lard. In one year, the train utilizes around 5,500 gallons of biodiesel. Utilizing waste oil helps reduce disposal costs and risks associated with waste oil. It also offers additional income to ramen shops that would otherwise have to pay to dispose of their excess oil. So, the next time you find yourself in Japan, relishing a bowl of delicious ramen, remember — you’re not just feeding yourself, you’re powering a train.