Smells like Fried Chicken on Wheels

Recycled cooking oil powers eco-friendly buses in Bali.

What if you started your car and smelt fried chicken?

In Bali, this is a mouth-watering reality for driver Made Gusta, one of the pioneers of Green School’s Bio Bus project.

The school has three bio buses fueled entirely by used cooking oil, and are already blazing a trail on the popular Indonesian island.

“The moment I started the bus, I smelt a whiff of fried chicken,” he recalls. “I yelled, ‘Who is eating in the bus?’” Laughing he says, “It was the first time I believed that this bus could run on cooking oil.”

Green School’s graduating students initiated the idea in 2015, driven by the challenge to cut carbon emissions and green the island’s transportation system.

Where better to start their bio bus journey than at the school itself.

Parents were having to drop their kids off every day, and were chalking up a significant carbon footprint travelling to and from the school.

First, the students had to find a source that would produce the biofuel.

The answer lay in used cooking oil.


Sofi Le Berre, a team member of the Green School Bio Bus, says used cooking oil, “impacts people’s health and the environment in a negative way.”

While Made reveals, “Oil that is being reused, multiple times, is being sold off again. And many people who are irresponsible, they clean it with formalin, or chemicals, such as pool cleaning agents.”

Green School students were quick off the mark with a solution. They approached hotels and restaurants to educate kitchen staff and owners about the dangers of used cooking oil. And encouraged the businesses to donate the oil.

Afterwhich, this would be sent to local non-government organisation Yayasan Lengis Hijau, who works closely with students to transform the used cooking oil into biodiesel. As an added bonus, glycerin, the by-product of this recycling process, is not wasted. Instead, it is turned into soap.

The long-term dream is to change the way Bali moves, by getting all drivers to switch to biodiesel.

Green School has already set up Bali’s first public biodiesel fuel station.

Now all that is needed to help move Bali’s green revolution forward is for more drivers to fill their tanks with biodiesel.

Says a very optimistic Made, “Everyone definitely wants a more progressive Bali, but also one that stays beautiful and healthy.”

About Bio Bus

Bio Bus began as a student project at Green School in Bali, Indonesia, and has evolved into a social enterprise that continues to be steered by students and local partners. It operates buses that run on biodiesel made from used cooking oil collected from restaurants, and a biodiesel pump station.



Grace Baey

Executive Producer

Denise Oliveiro