While car races are fun to watch, they are not the 'greenest' of events. However, 'Grease to Greece' is different. Here, the winning trophy is not awarded to the car that comes first, but to one that earns the most 'Grease Marks' - for collecting fuel, which in this case means used cooking fat from restaurants.
As the organizers aptly put it - It is the challenge to 'fat find' your way through Europe, without using fuel that pollutes the environment.
The inaugural two-week, 2,500-mile race from London, England to Athens, Greece, ended on Wednesday, and attracted eight teams.
However, there were no spiffy rally cars in this line-up. Instead, it included battered second-hand Peugeots, Range Rovers and Fiats - all acceptable as long as they ran on diesel fuel. Some participants modified the car slightly for better 'grease' efficiency, while others used theirs as is. Also, the drivers were not experienced rally drivers, but policemen, fireman, doctors and farmers, all trying to promote awareness of cheap and environmentally friendly bio-fuels.
The drivers who left London with a full tank of 'grease fuel', simply stopped along the way and asked restaurants and fast-food joints for more, when they ran out. Most, while curious at the strange request, were happy to oblige.
In order to be used as fuel, the waste fat was first filtered and then placed in a centrifuge, a device that rotates the oil really fast, resulting in separating substances that have different densities - In this case the oil from any food particles. The resulting clean oil is then ready for use as car fuel.
The race was the brainchild of 34-year old Andy Pag from England, who has made it his mission to get people comfortable with alternative environmentally friendly fuels.
Last year, Andy drove across the Sahara Desert to Timbuktu, Mali in West Africa, driving a truck powered by waste chocolate. Next year, he plans to do a trip around the world by planes, cars and boats, all powered by bio-friendly fuels
If more cars switch to this kind of fuel, not only would there be less waste and less harmful emissions, but it would also smell better - think French fries and chicken nuggets - Yum! To read more about Andy's other expeditions check out his website www.fatfinding.com.