Gijs Schalkx is a Dutch engineering student and the inventor of the Sloot Motor, which, to put it bluntly, is a motorcycle that runs on fart gas he harvests from bogs.
Vice rounded up as much information on the Sloot Motor and Schalkx as possible, learning from the engineer’s website, his YouTube channel, and a local newspaper that his creation is part of “a quest [to keep] the combustion engine alive in a fossil free future. It is also a demonstration of ways in which individuals can combat climate change without needing to rely on corporate products. He was inspired, as one article describes, by a story he read about a man who collected methane from his boat as he fished and then used that fuel to “fry the fish at home on methane gas he also caught himself.”
The Sloot Motor works by attaching a balloon filled with methane to a hole “drilled into the airbox” of a motorcycle engine. His bike needs gasoline to start but is then capable of running off the methane contained in the balloon afterwards. (“Sloot,” a word guaranteed to make Beavis and Butthead laugh, is Dutch for “ditch” and references the bogs Schalkx uses to gather his motorcycle’s fuel.) In order to harvest the methane, the engineer uses a (well-named) device called a “plompstation” that’s capable of extracting the gas from Netherland’s many bogs. One video shows what this process looks like, complete with footage of Schalkx stirring the bog with a hoe in order to help the process along.
It’s very slow—”roughly eight hours of [bog] hoeing to collect enough methane to take you 20 kilometers, or just over 12 miles, on the Sloot Motor”—but it works. Schalx also says that the time invested in fueling the bike helps the rider “[realize] how much effort you have to put in for that fuel,” which is a thoughtful way to consider the toll our vehicles take on the planet, whether using a ecologically responsible stink-bike or driving a car.
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