Chip fat rally heads for Athens

In a challenge that gives a whole new meaning to the term "fast food", ten rally teams are attempting to drive from London to Athens powered by waste cooking oil that participants will have to scavenge from restaurants and burger bars.

The two-week, 2,500 mile Grease to Greece challenge, which sets off on Saturday, will feature diesel cars converted to run on vegetable oil or using a portable domestic biodiesel processor provided by sponsor Green Fuels to convert vegetable oil into biodiesel.

The trip, which will take in sights such as Venice, the Nürburgring race track, and the Stelvio Pass through the Alps, aims to encourage people to take another look at the potential of biofuels and ways to save money on motoring.

It has been organised by 34-year-old Londoner Andy Pag – who last year drove from the UK to Timbuktu in a truck powered by waste chocolate – and his wife and co-driver Esther.

Mr Pag told edie: “My wife and I were thinking about a European holiday and I wondered if I could do it using grease from food outlets.

“I mentioned it to a few other people and they were really keen and it just sort of grew from there.”

Mr Pag, whose 1995 Peugeot 405 has been converted to run on waste vegetable oil, admitted it would be a challenge to find enough fuel.

“The big problem will be that some countries have quite strict waste management laws,” he told edie.

“In other countries they use solid lard to fry food rather than vegetable oil so we will have to find the right sort of grease.

“There’s also the language barrier – it will be fun trying to explain to a Croatian kebab shop owner that we want his grease,” added Mr Pag, who only speaks English and Italian.

The rally, which will feature games and challenges along the way, ends in Athens on August 27, where the winning team will be presented with a Golden Lard Trophy by the British Ambassdor.

To follow the race, visit the website here.

Across the pond, a host of vehicles powered by hydrogen are currently in the middle of a two-week road trip across America to raise awareness about hydrogen vehicles.

The Hydrogen Road Tour, organised by the California Fuel Cell Partnership, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy and the National Hydrogen Association, is trying to visit 31 cities in 18 states over 13 days.

Kate Martin

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