Chocolate to Power Trans-Saharan Journey
On November 23, a team of Brits began the “first ever carbon-negative driving expedition.” Andy Pag of London and John Grimshaw of Poole will drive their recycled BioTruck some 4,500 miles from the U.K. across the Sahara to Timbuktu in Mali, West Africa.
The catch? Their truck runs on chocolate fuel.
UK-based Ecotec has “developed a process for converting waste chocolate from a nearby factory into bio-ethanol on an industrial scale,” says the BioTruck site. “Previously this waste product was thrown away in landfill sites but now the bio-ethanol can be used to make fuel for petrol cars and in the production of Biodiesel.”
We thought “waste chocolate” was an oxymoron, but for now, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt:
“It’s not really a viable commercial proposition, says Chris Elvey of Ecotec in a video on the BBC. “Its just this thin edge of the wedge. We’re looking at various food stocks to actually produce fuel from such as banana skins, apple peel — the technology is already here, it’s already in existence, so why don’t we use it?”
The total carbon emissions from producing, delivering and burning the chocolate biofuel is about 500 kilograms, just 10 percent of the emissions you would get using traditional diesel.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
In addition to making the trek to raise awareness about the effectiveness of biofuels, Pag and Grimshaw are transporting a biodiesel production unit to a village in Mali. Pag claims that this will more than offset the carbon they will use in their journey, hence the “carbon-negative” claim.
Think it will work? The expedition will be independently monitored and audited by CarbonAided. You too can follow along in the coming weeks on their website.