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Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 16:01 UK
Chip fat bus hits Bristol's roads
The Chipper Bus
The Chipper Bus will be taking part in a six-month trial in Bristol

Old oil from your next fish and chip supper could soon be used to fuel a new bio-oil bus in Bristol.

First UK Bus is running a six-month trial of the eco-friendly bus to see how it performs against conventional ones.

The Chipper is powered by bio diesel from waste cooking oil sourced from a number of shops and restaurants.

Residents in Bristol are also urged to "chip in" by donating their own waste cooking oil to local recycling centres.

First Bus UK have tried things like this before, previously unveiling busses that run on gas and electricity - so is this latest one going to work?

"It's going to be using bio-fuels, which is a cooking oil," says managing director Justin Davies.

"Which everyone's got. We've got it from canteens, shops - it's something readily available.

"[It's] disposed of today in maybe not the best way environmentally. This is a way of disposing of it in a great way."

Conversion costs

Converting a normal bus to one that runs on discarded food oil sounds expensive stuff, but apparently that's not the case and it could even save the company cash in the long run.

"[It's] relatively low cost, under £1,000," adds Mr Davies.

"Obviously there is an element of fuel we have to use in it to get the mix going, but again, about the same costs as a diesel bus [to run]."

This is truly a Bristol initiative, but is having local businesses on-board helping local busses to help the environment?

"Absolutely. Yes, it's great to have local people involved," says Mr Davies.

"Of course, individuals themselves can take their waste fat down to the disposal plants in the normal way and it will end up in this as well. Fantastic!"

The future?

First Bus UK expect the six-month trial to be a success but will measure it in terms of how much smoke comes out of the vehicles and the wear and tear on the engines.

So, could all First Bus UK busses run on old fat in Bristol in the future? Well, yes according to the operator.

"Absolutely," enthuses Mr Davies.

"If this works, if it can use the oil in the right way, if it doesn't have a bad effect on the engines and things like that in the long-term then yes, maybe that's the way to go."

But perhaps the most important question to ask is whether the bus smells of fish and chips?

"No of course not, it's a normal bus," says the driver. "It just runs on bio-diesel!"

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