The Magic School Bus

Author: Centroc User
Date: November 10, 2011
Category: Community Groups, Recycling, Schools

An  ordinary local school bus in Gunning has been transformed into a magic biodiesel school bus – one that runs on recycled fish and chip oil from a local cafe, saves 18 tonnes of CO2 per year and costs just 30c per litre to run.

The project is the brainchild of engineer Ned Stojadinovic who moved to Gunning in 2002. Ned has been working on alternate fuel production for years and through projects such as the Gunning School Bus he can now prove how simple and cost effective it can be for other communities to introduce biodiesel into their daily lives.

Ned explains that biodiesel production is similar to soap production. Biodiesel is made out of any edible oil or fat, methanol and caustic soda or potash.

“(You) start with waste oil, generally from the local fish and chip place or, even better, from the Chinese restaurant. It is, after all, a waste product and the world is swimming in it, so it is both environmentally conscious and easy to get hold of. Given the sheer quantity of the stuff, most processors will never need to look further than the back of the local greasy spoon.”

Ned Stojadinovic – engineer, self professed “nerd” and passionate biodiesel advocate and producer.

Ned is proposing a simple system of hiring out oil to various food producers (or “greasy spoons” as he likes to call them) and retrieving it for processing when it is changed out of the deep fryers. Any vehicle that takes diesel can take biodiesel, but Ned suggests fitting a fuel heater to school buses, at a cost of just a few hundred dollars, for very cold weather. The effort involved in converting other school buses to biodiesel, Ned says, would be “trivial”.

“All of the work has been done and the expense would be insignificant,” he says.

Sarah Bucknell, Project Manager for the Green Upper Lachlan Project (GULP), says she hopes the Gunning School Bus will inspire other communities to think about what’s in their own backyards and find ways to make small towns more sustainable.

“There has been keen interest from Upper Lachlan Shire Council in the idea,” she says. “During our launch event in late October there were lots of questions on the project’s viability and what procedures need to be put in place to use the bio diesel in normal diesel vehicles. And as Ned says: the only thing you need to do is open up the fuel tank and pour the bio diesel in, it’s that easy.”

“It’s just going to take one or two councils or local businesses to step up and give it a go, then the idea’s sure to spread like wildfire.”

For more information on Ned Stojadinovic and the Gunning School bus go to


If your community is interested in learning more about biodiesel production, Ned is only too happy to help. He can be contacted at

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