BioTruck Expedition Update – Timbuktu!

Andy Pag and John Grimshaw arrive in TimbuktuBack in November I posted Willie Wonka and the Chocolate (biodiesel) Truck.

The goal was to drive a truck (three trucks actually) all the way from England to Timbuktu powered on biodiesel produced from “waste chocolate” (cocoa butter extracted from chocolate “factory rejects” that would otherwise be discarded).

I am happy to report that Andy Pag and John Grimshaw arrived in Timbuktu on Boxing Day despite breakdowns, sand storms, corrupt border guards, and a “narrowly escaped shoot out with Al-Qaeda”. Upon arrival in Timbuktu the team delivered as planned a biodiesel processing unit to the MFC organization to help local women convert waste cooking oil into fuel.

A Carbon Footprint Lighter than Air

The expedition consisted of a Ford Iveco Cargo truck and two landcrusisers, all powered with “chocolate” biodiesel. The cargo truck is now being used to haul concrete and flour around Burkina Faso and the Land Cruisers are used by Tuareg guides to show people distant dunes and rock art around Timbuktu and Gao. The recycled trucks are thus able provide income to several families.

While some biofuels may present more problems than they purport to solve, using waste products to produce fuel seems like a great idea.

Carbon Aided estimates that the net effect of the expedition, including the recycling of the trucks and delivery of the biodiesel processing unit, is “carbon negative”, saving 15 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Andy Pag plans a trip next year to China, flying a paramotor powered with fuel made from landfill waste – after he learns to fly.




Tom is the founder, editor, and publisher of and the TDS Environmental Media Network. He has been a contributor for Triple Pundit since 2007. Tom has also written for Slate, Earth911, the Pepsico Foundation, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, and many other sustainability-focused publications. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists

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