Big (Green) Deal: Mr. Peanut’s New Nutmobile and Mr. (Bio)Diesel’s 100-Year-Old Prediction

Although it’s been on the road for almost a year, I was ignorant of Mr. Peanut’s fabulous new Nutmobile until I saw it in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (its 6th appearance) this past week. The ever dapper Mr. Peanut himself commented (via Facebook) on the decision to go green: “”I’m a peanut, so sustainability is important to me. When you live in the soil for an extended periods of time, you realize that it’s important to make sure where you come from — the earth — stays clean and green.” The Planter’s website elaborates on the technical specs:

Sustainable features of the Planters Nutmobile:

  • Solar panels on the roof, along with a wind turbine, charge a battery that will power vehicle lights and audio when the Nutmobile is stopped, as well as provide energy for some tour stop needs
    • A two-hour drive in the Nutmobile will generate and store enough wind energy to power a one-hour tour stop event
    • This is the first time a wind turbine has been used to power a commercial vehicle of this nature
  • Reclaimed wood (from an 1840’s barn that was being torn down) was used to create the interior flooring
  • Interior lighting is provided by low-energy LED lights
  • Reclaimed headlights, windows and a windshield frame

And, of course, it runs on biodiesel.

Ironically, biodiesel is not usually peanut-based, although it very well can be, according to good ol’ Wikipedia:

It is often reported that Diesel designed his engine to run on peanut oil, but this is not the case. Diesel stated in his published papers, “at the Paris Exhibition in 1900 (Exposition Universelle) there was shown by the Otto Company a small Diesel engine, which, at the request of the French government ran on arachide (earth-nut or pea-nut) oil (see biodiesel), and worked so smoothly that only a few people were aware of it. The engine was constructed for using mineral oil, and was then worked on vegetable oil without any alterations being made. The French Government at the time thought of testing the applicability to power production of the Arachide, or earth-nut, which grows in considerable quantities in their African colonies, and can easily be cultivated there.”

Apparently, Mr. Diesel himself was supportive of the idea of primarily using peanut oil as fuel and in a 1912 speech commented: “The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today but such oils may become, in the course of time, as important as petroleum and the coal-tar products of the present time.”

Well, it’s nice that, despite a 100-year warning, we’ve managed to only recently explore the possibilities of producing biodiesel fuel on a large scale…Nothing inspires action like good old-fashioned apocalyptic panic. If those 2012 predictions come true, you’d better believe I’ll be hijacking the Nutmobile for my getaway into the Canadian woods!


Mr. Peanut and Nutmobile photo from Delish
Technical Nutmobile diagram from Autoblog Green




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