With more than a touch of irony, a motorcyclist who spent about 20 years as an off-shore oil driller is demonstrating that there are alternatives to fossil fuels. Paul Carter, now a best seller author, last month leapt aboard a motorbike (designed and made by staff and students at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, to see how it copes with over 20,000 kilometres (
124, 200 miles, whoops! 12,420 miles) of travel as he does a lap of the country.
According to ABC Online, Paul reckons the biodiesel motorcycle is "the only road-registered, properly compliance plated, properly insured bike in the country that runs on used cooking oil and waste animal fats." He is also hoping that she'll be to maintain a speed of at least 80 to 90 kilometres an hour (53 mph) on her intake of recycled cooking oil and waste fats.All up, Paul figures they'll go through about 650 litres of the stuff for the entire trip.
This is not the first proving ground for the bike. The Motor Report tell us it previously tested its mettle on the Panasonic World Solar Challenge, back in 2007, when it won the major environment award. Then the bike christened 'Betty' or BioBike travelled the 3,000 kilometres from Darwin to Adelaide achieving fuel economy figures of around 3.5 l/100km (67.2 miles/gallon), while emitting only 71g/km of carbon dioxide.
A senior lecturer at Adelaide University, Dr Colin Kestell, acknowledges that biodiesel, although an important contribution, is no silver bullet to our transport dilemma. "Nothing will ever totally replace the use of petrol, but by using biofuel as one option you start to chip away at this dependency," he said."It could basically address about 10 per cent of the transport fuel use."
Assuming all goes well on the round the country trip (he's roughly a third of the way there so far), Paul will have a shot at the world land speed record for a biodiesel motorcycle, seeing if the salt flats of Lake Gairdner, South Australia will allow him to reach 267km/h (166 mph). However this he'll be astride a different biodiesel bike that the University of Adelaide is cooking up.
See a video blog of the biodiesel motorcycle circumnavigation at ::The Good Oil
Photos: University of Adelaide and ABC Online