Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tour company trials biofuel for its vehicles

Tour company trials biofuel for its vehicles

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Tour company trials biofuel for its vehicles

130322 01b

Pioneering Siem Reap tour company, See Cambodia Differently, has started using 100 per cent biodiesel to power its tour vehicles.

The company, which has teamed up with Naga Biofuels, wants to provide travellers with an environmentally friendly alternative when touring the Kingdom, and it successfully conducted its first biofuel tour, to Preah Vihear, on February 25.

See Cambodia Differently director Peter Jones said he thought making the change to biofuel was the right thing to do. He has been using biofuel in his personal vehicle for the past three months, and said he heard about Naga Biofuels and knew using biofuel would be something for the environment, his business, and the health of the community.

He added that if more people in Cambodia converted to biofuel, the streets would be cleaner and less people would feel like they had to wear surgical masks while driving through town.

The biggest challenge the tour operator faced during this initiative was convincing his drivers to use biodiesel in their vehicles.

Like most small tour companies in Cambodia, See Cambodia Differently employs freelance tour guides who use their own vehicles.

“We have to convince the drivers it won’t hurt their van,” Jones said. “It’s their most important asset…that’s their livelihood.”

The boutique travel company works with a pool of five drivers, and to show the drivers biofuel would not be detrimental to their vehicles, Jones sent them to the Naga Biofuel factory to learn about the benefits.

Biofuel is more lubricating and cleansing to the engine, and it can be mixed with traditional fuel in the tank without damaging the engine. But it is two per cent less efficient than petroleum diesel.

Biofuel sells at $1.30 per litre, a similar price to commercial petrol stations in Cambodia but about 20 cents per litre more expensive than black market petrol bought on the street.

See Cambodia Differently pays the difference in price to its drivers.

The company’s first tour to Preah Vihear using biodiesel on February 25 encountered no problems, and it hopes to have all of the tours running on biofuel for next year’s tourist season.

Although environmentally friendly ecotourism is trending around the world, Jones said he was not using biofuel to increase his business, but because he believed it was the responsible thing to do.  “Commercially there’s not a big benefit, it’s just what I think is right.”

He said he planned to continue with biofuel, and at the moment he had no plan to alter the prices of his tours because of the change.

Naga Biofuels director Tim Waterfield said he hoped companies converting to biofuel were the start of an environmental movement for tour companies and travellers.

“Cambodia has a dearth of environmentally friendly options.  We like to think that we are helping to change that.”

The small environmental NGO, which converts used cooking oil into biodiesel and a glycerine by-product used as a degreaser, now provides biofuel to 32 customers, including five tour companies.

Naga Biofuels produces between 6,000 and 7,000 litres of fuel per month in its Siem Reap factory. The company’s supply would max out at about 20,000 litres per month. Naga Biofuel also has a storage facility in Phnom Penh, and the ability to deliver fuel anywhere in the country.

MOST VIEWED

  • Website advises travellers to stay clear of Angkor Wat

    An Australian website has advised travellers to avoid Angkor Wat during their trip to Southeast Asia because the ancient temple is showing signs of rapid erosion and faced water management issues. In a recent article entitled Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

    Passenger taxi boat traffic has dropped by about five per cent compared to the same period last year, despite the government providing free service for garment workers until next year, Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority director Ean Sokhim said on Monday. In 2018, the Phnom

  • Kingdom drafting new law to strengthen immigration

    The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday said it had formed a working group to draft amendments to the Law on Immigration. Its secretary of state Sok Phal told The Post that the amendments will strengthen the management of immigrants in line with the current situation.

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that

  • Jica seeks to turn PP, towns into smart cities

    Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) representatives have sought support from Siem Reap’s Apsara National Authority (ANA) to transform the ancient capital into a smart city. The call was made in February last year after the government approved three cities to join the Asean Smart