Renewable energy project - Used cooking oil pilot project
Here is the progress on our pilot project to use used cooking oil as a partial fuel for one of our African overland trucks.
Please don’t confuse “Bio Diesel” with this initiative. Our aim is not to utilise fuels made from crops especially grown to make fuel. We take cooking oil that has already been used for frying food and would normally be poured down the sink or drain, and use this to reduce our consumption of diesel in our trucks thereby reducing our own and our client’s carbon footprint. The truck will actually run on a blend – a mixture of diesel and used oil. Our initial target is a 10% reduction in diesel consumption. At the same time we aim to provide a source of income for local people in the areas we travel through. As we will not have the time to source the used oil we are going to need when conducting a tour, we plan to get currently unemployed local people involved in sourcing the oil for us before we arrive and pay them for each litre they source – much like you would pay for your fuel at the fuel station. On the Victoria Falls to Cape Town tour departing on the 10th of February our head guide, Vengai will be sourcing and discussing with possible suppliers of oil.
We are looking into the technicalities of converting the truck to run on this oil/diesel mix:
We have met with Roy Dibley. Roy is the designer and manufacturer of the converters required to run a diesel engine on used cooking oil. He has his own VW Kombi Van that runs solely on used (or recycled) cooking oil (except for a couple of ml’s of Diesel required to start it)
We have assessed the space available on our trucks to mount the converter unit and have successfully found a place to mount it. Roy has a unit ready to fit but before we can go ahead, we need to resolve a few issues with the filtration system required before the oil can be used. The idea is to have an on board filter system that is clean and user friendly. To filter the oil sufficiently there needs to be quite a bit of applied pressure. We are currently investigating four options for this at the moment.
Chiang Mai orphanage update
A quick update from the Chiang Mai Orphanage to help us understand how our money makes a difference.
They currently have 29 children. The orphanage has to budget for food and household necessities for the kids. This year they also bought an accident cover insurance for all children. Buildings have to be maintained and the orphanage has to pay for their electricity supply. The orphanage has three motorcycles and a pick up truck to get the kids to school. These need maintaining and repairing and petrol and road tax needs paying for. In 2008 the orphanage purchased new school uniforms and some school books for the children. It also paid for school lunches for the next entire year as well as school fees for 2 older children going onto further education. The orphanage also hopes to replace their existing pick up truck with a new vehicle this year if possible, as they feel the current one needs upgrading for safety reasons.
Obviously in these financial times running costs will increase for 2009 and the orphanage expects that donations may drop. So our funding is more important than ever!
Comic relief 2009
Comic relief supports long-term projects across the UK and developing countries in their quest for ‘a just world free from poverty’. Young people are at the very heart of this. Whilst many young people lead fulfilling and exciting lives, others face enormous challenges and experience problems that they find difficult to solve on their own. Comic Relief has helped thousands of young people make positive changes in their lives but many more need help and support.
In support of Red Nose day this year we ran a best joke competition - with everyone paying £1 to enter their best joke and the winner getting a prize. Some of the company also showed their support for the celebrities who climbed Mt Kilimanjaro by doing their own sponsored Kili walk. Not quite the distance they trekked, but we walked 5891.8 metres!
We managed to raise £163 in total!
We have now added a second link on the website to Climate Care’s Australian site giving our Australian clients the chance to offset their flight emissions from any airport.
In the office
£7.35 has been put in our responsible travel fund as profits from our Responsible Travel snack box. It all adds up!
We now have our leftover currency box in the kitchen with proceeds going to East Anglia’s Childrens’ Hospices as our local charity. Any staff that return from holidays or work trips can put their leftover foreign currency in this box and the hospice will convert this into pounds and use it towards their running costs.
Our client donations towards Imaginative Traveller Worldwide projects were £180 in January.
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