Gijs Schalkx, a Dutch inventor and engineering student, modified his motorcycle to run on methane harvested from roadside bogs and ponds.
Rightly named “Sloot Motor”, because sloot means ‘ditch’ in Dutch, ingenious vehicle features a modified Honda GX160 motorcycle engine, with a hole into the airbox, through which it receives the methane.
The genial inventor than hooks a balloon filled with methane to the hole, which acts as the fuel tank.
Of course the engine starts with gasoline but, once it starts, it uses the methane to keep going.
However, what truly makes the project special is the fact that he manually harvests the methane himself from roadside swamps and ponds, a labor that takes approximately eight hours.
Gijs Schalkx said that he got the idea for his Sloot Motor while reading about a fisherman who allegedly used methane collected while out fishing to fry some eggs. Thus, he adapted the concept to suit his needs, which also involved creating a tool for harvesting the methane, which he calls a plompstation.
“A plompstation consists of a collecting apparatus which is anchored to the water, only reachable by those who bring their waders,” he writes on his website. “Next to that there is a pressure pump locked on site for transferring the fuel to your fuel container.”
Despite the Sloot Motor is more than ingenious, it wasn’t built as a serious alternative to electric or internal combustion engines.
Its relatively low speed and disappointing fuel efficiency make it a poor alternative, not to mention the work required to actually harvest the fuel.
Instead, Gijs Schalkx hopes that it will make people reconsider their relationship with technologies.
“If this world we live in is the cause for global breakdown, over-extraction of resources and inequality all over the world, why do we keep holding on to this idea of progress by growth?” he rhetorically asks. “A goal that we are blindly following without thinking about the consequences and counting on technology to save us.”
“Driving an electric car does not mean that you are exempt from the oil circuit on which our society runs. Throwing more money at a problem won’t solve it, we are the problem and we have to change,” he adds.
Despite swamp-harvested methane may be a hard-to-come-by fuel in many parts of the world, he points out that it is easy to find a little pond or ditch that will serve as source for fuel anywhere in the Netherlands.
As for the eight hours required to harvest enough bog methane for a 20km-ride on the Sloot Motor, he claims the hard work just ensures that it will be the best 20 kilometers of your life, priceless!
Images from web – Google Research