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Fish And Chip Oil Powers Road Trip Around Australia


A couple has embarked on a journey around Australia in a car powered by leftover vegetable oil from fish and chip shops. Rachel and Gerard Mimmo plan to drive 18,000 miles in a specially designed four-wheel drive. From Sydney, Phil Mercer reports.

Rachel Mimmo's second-hand car is nicknamed "The Battered Fish" because of the pungent smell of fried fish from its exhaust fumes.

One of the car's two fuel tanks holds discarded fish and chip oil donated by restaurants. The other is for diesel, which is used only in small quantities.

There have been mechanical problems and getting fuel has been difficult. Many restaurants sell used frying oil for conversion into bio-diesel and are unwilling to give it away.

Rachel Mimmo, a British lawyer, says she and her husband want their journey to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

"We'll be staying in bush camps as much as possible rather than powered camp sites or hotels," Mimmo said. "We also have a solar panel on top of our car to fuel the battery for the car which generates power for our fridge. We've got a solar shower instead of trying to get into campsites with facilities."

Australia is one of the world's worst per capita emitters of greenhouse gases, which are widely thought to contribute to global warming.

Her Australian husband Gerard Mimmo says he wants to do his bit to help the environment.

"We were looking for an adventure," he explained. "We were moving out to Australia, so we decided that we will combine the two. I just finished a sustainability degree over in the U.K., and I thought it would be a bit rude if I came out and added to the emissions of Australia without trying to do something about it."

So far, the couple has driven from Sydney to Brisbane. While the fishy fuel helps the environment on the tour, it also spares the Mimmo's the expense of record-breaking gasoline prices.

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