How to transform a caravan to an Eco-van
It is possible to reduce our carbon footprint by using renewable resources both for fuel and for electricity. We used the sun shining above us and waste oil instead of fossil fuels while travelling by caravan to emit less carbon to nature and to prevent the disasters caused by (coal plants, dams, wind turbines) our energy consumption.
Waste Oil Conversion
It’s possible for all diesel vehicles without electronic sections to install the waste oil conversion system. After filtering, we use the waste oil, previously used for cooking, directly in the engine with a separate fuel tank. In contrast to bio-diesel, the oil doesn’t pass through a chemical process; it is just filtered in accordance with the tolerance of the engine. Re-using waste oil in this way not only prevents opening of new mono-culture farming areas just for producing bio-diesel, but also obviates the problem of water pollution caused by waste oil that couldn’t be eliminated.
To use waste oil in the vehicle, a yacht type fuel tank (20-40 liters), a conversion kit, optionally with an electronic heat indicator, including connection cables, a fuel pump and a couple of oil filters in different intensity is needed. We fill the oil tank with waste oil, gathered from restaurants on our way, after getting rid of big particles using a piece of pervious cloth and filtering the oil in accordance with the engine oil filter (ours is 5 microns). The vehicle is started with diesel fuel first, then the second tank is activated when the engine reaches a certain temperature. To clean the oil residues in the motor (just like the stickiness in the pan after frying) you should switch to diesel fuel tank a couple of kilometers before stopping the engine. Run the engine in idle for a certain time in case of unexpected long term parking. In this way, you can use the waste oil easily without causing any damage to the engine.
There are plenty of companies to acquire a conversion kit to install the system to the vehicle. Some of the conversion kits in the market come with an electronic heat indicator to check the time for switching to waste oil, but you can also buy a cheaper kit without a heat indicator and use the temperature gauge of your vehicle. You can buy the kit without electronic gauge from OilyBits Company in Britain, and the kit with electronic gauge from a German company ATG and from their distributer Karaerler in Turkey.
A laptop, two mobile phones, a tablet pc and the lighting system. That’s all the electrical appliances we use in our caravan. A 120 W solar panel that we placed on the top of our vehicle and a 40 amp battery are enough to provide the power we need. We also have a 20 liters camp shower which heats the water in it with sunlight for our need of warm water.
Car sharing, as a way of public transportation, is a solution created to reduce the greenhouse gas emitted by automobiles, to reduce the number of vehicles in traffic and to make economic saving. It aims to make more economic, ecologic and social travel possible by connecting people with a car or not who goes to the same way in the same period of time.
It is possible to find car sharing web sites in Turkey similar to the examples in Europe where it is widely used. While some of them are using a system in which fuel expenses are shared (Ortak Araba, Ucuza Gidelim, Birlikte Git, Var mı gelen?), a couple of them are totally free and collective (Yolyola, Ekoyol).