British campaigner drives green bus in Kolkata

August 7th, 2010 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 7 (IANS) The sudden increase in the number of vehicles in the country has increased the carbon emission footprint — amount of carbon released by an activity — to five-six tonnes per capita per year, British environmental campaigner Andy Pag said here Saturday.
Pag, who is on a mission to go around the world in a bio-fuel driven bus to spread awareness on global warming, addressed a seminar on “Awareness of carbon footprint, renewable energy and vehicle design” at MCKV Institute of Engineering at Liluah in Howrah, 10 km from here.

Speaking to the students, the environmental campaigner said: “The whole idea of my ‘Biotruck Expedition’ is to see if this could be a way to reduce carbon footprint.”

Pag has been in the city for the past 10 days. He travelled through Pushkar, Mumbai and Kathmandu before reaching Kolkata.

The 34-year-old engineer, experienced in varied fields from investigative journalism for the BBC to filmmaking, said: “I want to see if I can go around the globe emitting less than two tonnes of carbon-dioxide.”

“That’s the amount the G20 nations have agreed to cap CO2 (carbon-dioxide) emission per person per annum by 2050. If this happens, the chances of global temperatures rising 5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century will drop to 3 percent from 50 percent at present.”

“I planned this expedition to spread the message on global warming and also to find out what people in different parts of the world are doing to reduce their carbon footprint,” Pag said.

“I bought a 20-year old Mercedes school bus with only 850 pounds (Rs.60,000). Then, I remodelled it according to my plans,” he said.

“Solar panels were fitted on the roof, and inside, a mammoth 1,500-litre tank was fitted to store bio fuel (because you never know where you will get your supply next). The engine, too, was tinkered with,” he said.

What sets the truck apart is the unique engine, which has been designed to run on vegetable oil and has been installed with a filtering system to clean the used oil that can be picked en route and used as fuel.

“I can also convert the used oil to bio diesel to fuel my start-up tank using an onboard reactor,” added Pag.

The environmental campaigner has travelled more that 22,000 km in his vehicle. The vehicle aims to produce the least carbon footprint while going around the world in 365 days. He set out from London in September last year.

Travelling through France, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Iran and Pakistan before reaching India, Pag said: “As the route is a little flexible, I can’t be sure where I will get fuel next. After all, if you want to drive around the world using only bio fuel, it can be very, very difficult.”

But he admitted that availability of bio fuel is quite easy in India and other Asian countries.

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