Biodiesel-Fueled Motorcycle to Circle Australia

John Davis

BioBike2009Two years ago, a biodiesel-powered motorcycle made a 3,000 km (1,800 miles) trip across Australia(see my post from Oct. 22, 2007).

Now, the folks in charge of the BioBike will up the ante as former oil driller Paul Carter will make a 20,000 km (12,000 miles) journey around the land of down under. This University of Adelaide press release has details.

The 40-year-old author and former offshore oil rigger will ride an award-winning biodiesel bike nicknamed “Betty”, built by the University’s Mechanical Engineering students in 2007.

The BioBike, which runs on used cooking oil and waste fats, won acclaim for generating minimal greenhouse gas emissions in completing a 3000km trek in 2007 between Darwin and Adelaide in seven days.

Mr Carter says his journey will hopefully raise awareness of the potential of used cooking oil as a viable alternative to hydrocarbons as a fuel source for farming.

The motorcycle enthusiast says after spending 20 years in the oil industry, he is interested in giving something back to the environment.

“I will sit on about 95km/h riding `Betty’ and expect to use about 650 litres of vegetable oil for the duration of the trip,” he says.

The biodiesel bike was conceived by Dr Colin Kestell, coordinator of the Automotive Engineering program at the University of Adelaide, and built by students within the School of Mechanical Engineering.

Releasing just 71 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre travelled on the Adelaide-Darwin trip in 2007, the BioBike won the major environment award in the Panasonic World Solar Challenge Greenfleet Technology Class that year. Its fuel efficiency was 3.5 litres per 100km.

Kestell says this trip will show just how effective biodiesel can be in the long haul for commercial vehicles. The trip will go from Adelaide, head south to Melbourne and then up the east coast of Australia to Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin before making a counter-clockwise trip around Australia, expecting to finish in November.