“B.I.O. Tour” Vegetable Oil Powered Bus Promotes Sustainable Energy through Dance Music.
Back in 2003, New York City’s infamous political rave crew Blackkat Productions went on a national a tour called The Bio-fuel Information and Outreach Tour, or B.I.O. TOUR for short, featuring the popular Blackkat dance jock, DJ Chrome, singer songwriter Stephan Smith, and NYC fire performer GEAR traveling in a vegetable oil-powered bus, laying down music on their solar-powered sound system!
This public awareness campaign brought knowledge to the people about the dangers of fossil fuel, global warming and how to use exciting new technology to create a brighter, cleaner future!
Sponsored in part by Greenpeace and officially endorsed by the US Green Party, the B.I.O. Tour travelled to 15 cities and three festivals on a thirteen-week tour, conducting workshops, hosting dance parties, and distributing information about sustainable energy. Not just a one off event, they keep the spirit of innovation alive every year.
The B.I.O. BUS is a 35 foot school-bus with an unaltered diesel engine, that is powered by new or used vegetable oil!
Here’s how it works: The bus has two fuel tanks, a start-up tank and a main tank. The start-up tank contains biodiesel, (which is vegetable oil that has been chemically altered so that it performs the same as petroleum diesel) or in a pinch, petroleum diesel. This tank is used to start and warm up the engine.
As the engine warms up, the engine coolant (which is actually quite hot) is circulated through hoses that incase the fuel-lines and through coils of copper tubbing that are submerged in the main tank. The main tank is filled with filtered waste oil from restaurants and is heated by the coolant lines. Once the veggie-oil in the main tank is heated (about 10-20 minutes) the driver flicks a switch on the dashboard and presto-change-o shazamm, we are driving around on unaltered veggie oil with absolutely no changes in the vehicles’ performance!
Also, the engine of the B.I.O. BUS runs a pump that is attached to a hose that pulls out of the side of the bus. The hose can be put into a grease trap or container outside a restaurant and will pump the oil through a series of filters and a heat exchanger, straight into the main tank. This process make our fill-ups quite clean and convenient!
Vegetable oil is a preferred transitionary fuel for us because it is readily available, homegrown, decentralized, biodegradable, non-carcinogenic, nicer smelling and cleaner burning.
The tours demonstrate the feasibility of using vegetable oil for fuel, seeking to popularize its use among the new generation of citizens just coming of age, young and enthusiastic audiences. The tour began in New York City on June 1st and ended in Washington, DC on September 15, 2003, where the B.I.O. Team presented its sustainable energy petition to Congress.
Chrome, who plays tribal house, drum-n-bass, and world beat music, is a veteran of NYC club and warehouse scene for 10 years. Chrome has traveled extensively though out the US and Europe as a DJ and regularly headlines some of the biggest dance parties in New York City. Chrome and his Blackkat Crew have been written up in Mixer Mag, CMJ, TimeOut NY, the Village Voice, Flyer NYC, and several other publications.
Stephan Smith, who was recently dubbed by Billboard magazine as “the closest thing to this generation’s Woody Guthrie” will also be joining the tour. Dave Matthews, one of several artists singing Smith’s songs, has called Smith "an incredible songwriter and musician." Guerilla News Network hailed his song "The Bell," which Smith recorded with Pete Seeger and Dean Ween, as the "anti-war anthem for our generation." Smith’s second full-length album, New World Worder (Universal Hobo/Synchronic).
The B.I.O. Tour also featured the talents of Gear, who is not only the resident diesel mechanic and expert on vegetable conversion, but a topnotch fire-performer as well. In addition to hosting dance parties, the B.I.O. Team conducted an educational workshop titled "Driving Vegetarian – How to run your car on vegetable oil", exploring the issues of global warming and the problems with fossil fuels as well as renewable alternatives such as biodiesel, straight veggie oil, solar, and wind. The focus of this presentation is teaching people how to get involved in the veggie-oil movement and how to immediately begin using vegetable oil instead of petroleum in their own lives.
The B.I.O. Tour has been to dozens of cities, from North Carolina, Wisconsin, Austin, Kansas City, Denver, Santa Fe, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Eugene, Portland, Washington DC, Mutant Festival, Burning Man Festival as well as several locations along the way. Because to the grassroots nature of the tour, people are encouraged to not only come and see the shows, but to actually get involved with the tour and be a part of this new and exciting movement for sustainable technology.
For more info on the B.I.O. Tour project and its parent organization go to www.biotour.org