Eco-Living Magazine

Not Your Average Bus Trip: How “Green” is That Green Bus? Part 2

Posted on the 25 December 2011 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

Not Your Average Bus Trip: How “Green” is that Green Bus? Part 2This is the second in a series by Heather Perry. All posts in the series will be  available here.

We drove our bus to our first supplying client, the restaurant where Darcy had been working.  Consistent with what we would find throughout the rest of our three-month journey, the owner of the restaurant was encouraging in our endeavors, but could assist us little more than vaguely pointing us in the direction of the grease bin out back.  Not knowing what we were getting ourselves into, literally and figuratively, we came with no supplies other than ourselves.  We looked down into the large metal bin of used frying grease at our reflections, and wondered how we were going to scoop out the oil.  We grabbed a gallon milk jug out of the recycling, cut off the top, and made ourselves a scoop.  Then we proceeded to reach waist-deep into the grease bin and pour the oil into the 50-gallon plastic storage drum we had in the back of the bus.  This was our first experience collecting oil, one that believe it or not, was not significantly altered for the duration of our trip.

With time we did make slight improvements to our collection methods.  For instance, we purchased fashionable mechanic jumpsuits to protect our clothes.  To store backup oil on the bus, we obtained numerous 5-gallon oil containers, referred to as “cubies,” that restaurants receive clean oil in.  We did not, however, advance beyond our reliable milk-jug scoop.

Not Your Average Bus Trip: How “Green” is that Green Bus? Part 2
We proceeded up from Santa Barbara to Tahoe, where we would spend about a week designing our preliminary filtration system.  Graciously donated by Jen’s grandfather, we secured a Gasboy Model 60 electric pump, which became an essential component of our system.  Additionally, we purchased a series of water filters that we set up sequentially from coarsest to finest, through which we pumped the oil directly into the gas tank.  This initial system was developed after much thought, input from many sources, and an everlasting trial-and-error effort on our part.  We played around with several different sizes and brands of water filters, deciding to use a 30 micron, a 15 micron, and a 5 micron filter, connected in series with plastic tubing from the 50-gallon collection drum to the gas tank out the back window.  The preliminary filter used to pour into our 50-gallon drum was a simple screen, or as time passed and supplies occasionally went missing, an old t-shirt or ripped-up pair of jeans, anything that could serve to keep out large chunks of your favorite tempura.

With a seemingly functional filtration system installed, we set off on the first leg of our journey from Tahoe to Boulder, Colorado, testing our bus in the high-altitude mountain town of Breckenridge on the way.  After hitting several lucrative Japanese restaurants on the way out of Carson City, enjoying our first night sleeping in the bus in Eureka, Nevada, and breaking down momentarily due to a clogged engine filter in the middle of Utah, we arrived safely in Boulder where we continued to fine tune our system and work on the interior decorating of the bus.

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