Recycled Biotruck completes world circumnavigation
A biodiesel vehicle made of a salvaged parts makes 30,000 - just
As the Biotruck, a vehicle made of recycled truck and bus parts and fueled by biodiesel, completes its 30,000km circumnavigation of the globe, one of the drivers has revealed that the trip was almost abandoned in Asia after they were detained on the India/Pakistan border.
Built by self-styled eco-adventurer Andy Pag of Croydon, in south London, the Biotruck was based on a wrecked Mercedes school bus he found at a local scrap yard. Pag had previously driven a chocolate-powered lorry to Timbuktu using biodiesel made from waste cocoa butter, and in 2008 organised the "Grease to Greece Rally" across Europe for cars converted to run on waste oil.
Like his previous efforts, the Biotruck runs on used cooking oil while the inside was also refitted into what Pag called "an eco-home using reclaimed materials".
He began his two-year trip in September 2009 meeting American Christina Ammon on the way. The pair journeyed together through Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.
Although Pag lists finding waste vegetable oil as one of the main challenges, the ageing 22-year old vehicle was also blighted by constant breakdowns.
Having journeyed through Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, Pag was later arrested on suspicion of terrorism and imprisoned in the India's notorious Ajmer prison for seven days. The trip was then delayed further as India authorities in Pushkar took five months to conduct legal proceedings.
Despite eventually getting on their way, Pag explained the Asian excursion caused complications later in the US and he was again detained.
"Two hours later, [the officer] finished checking my name, my mother’s name, my father’s name, and my phone number against FBI records. I’m 'clean' he tells his supervisor who unlocks the handcuffs and gives me back my passports along with a Border Protection Unit feedback form. 'Sorry that took so long' he says tersely. I handed the form back to him without looking at it."
Despite their legal travails the pair said they were happy with what they had achieved.
“The breakdowns were the best bit.” said Ammon “That’s when we met the most interesting, friendly people and had the unique sort of adventures and insights which you can’t have travelling any other way.”
“I’m as surprised as anyone that we got around the world without putting any fossil fuel in the tank. We couldn’t have done it without the enthusiasm and help from the strangers we’ve met along the road, and from our sponsors.” added Pag. “The random acts of kindness have given us an overwhelming faith in how great humankind is.”