A Dutch engineer and artist has just completed a self-built bike that is powered completely by harvested methane from a local swamp!
The Sloot Motor (sloot meaning ditch in Dutch) is powered by a Honda GX160 four-stroke engine, and it’s a “quest on keeping the combustion engine alive in a fossil free future,”. To build the bike, Schalkx drilled a hole into the airbox to allow the methane to be sucked in. He then hooks a balloon (that looks more like a condom in the images) to the hole which fuels the engine.
In the first instance, the engine uses conventional petrol to fire, although once running it is totally powered by methane gas. Schalkx got after reading about a fisherman who used collected swamp methane to fry eggs, while out on the lake.
Collecting the naturally occurring methane is a labour of love that requires a special device Schalkx designed which calls a plompstation. “A plompstation consists of a collecting apparatus which is anchored to the water, only reachable by those who bring their waders,” he said on his website. “Next to that there is a pressure pump locked on-site for transferring the fuel to your fuel container.”
While the idea of turning the gas into fuel sounds ideal, it’s not totally straightforward. The gas needed to move the bike takes about eight hours to harvest, and that’s if you speed the process up by ‘hoeing’ the lake bed. Moreover, the eight-hour ordeal will only power the bike for around 12-miles – not ideal!