Recycled Cooking Oil Powers Eco-friendly Buses in Bali

Recycled Cooking Oil Powers Eco-friendly Buses in Bali

What if you started your car and smelt fried chicken?

In Bali, this is a mouth-watering reality for driver Made Gusta, one of the pioneers of Green School’s Bio Bus project.

The school has three bio buses fuelled entirely by used cooking oil, and are already blazing a trail on the popular Indonesian island.

“The moment I started the bus, I smelt a whiff of fried chicken,” he recalls “I yelled, ‘Who is eating in the bus?’”

Used cooking oil can be recycled into biodiesel. Image: Our Better World
Used cooking oil can be recycled into biodiesel. Image: Our Better World



Laughing he says, “It was the first time I believed that this bus could run on cooking oil.”

Green School’s graduating students initiated the idea in 2015, driven by the challenge to cut carbon emissions and green the island’s transportation system.

“There are so many students coming in cars and there was not enough room in the carpark, and the carbon footprint of that was quite large as well,” says Sofi Le Berre, Team Member of Green School Bio Bus to Our Better World, a storytelling initiative of the Singapore International Foundation.

The students also saw an issue with used cooking oil on the island of Bali.

Made reveals, “Oil that is being reused, multiple times, is being sold off again. And many people who are irresponsible, they clean it with formalin, or chemicals, such as pool cleaning agents.” 

“It really impacts people’s health and the environment in such a negative way,” says Sofi.

Green School students were quick off the mark with a solution. Where better to start their bio bus journey than at the school itself?

The students work closely with Yayasan Lengis Hijau, a local NGO that collects and produces biodiesel.

They work together with the NGO to educate hotels and restaurants and encourage them to donate their used cooking oil to be recycled into biodiesel. As an added bonus, glycerin, the by-product of this recycling process, is not wasted. Instead, it is turned into soap.

Biodiesel fuel station in Green School. Image: Our Better World
Biodiesel fuel station in Green School. Image: Our Better World


Today, The Green School has Bali’s first public biodiesel fuel station in their compound. They have 3 school buses run on biodiesel.

But, there is a bigger dream to change the way Bali moves. They hope that all drivers in Bali can switch to biodiesel.

Says a very optimistic Made, “Everyone definitely wants a more progressive Bali, but also one that stays beautiful and healthy.”



How You Can Help

Know any restaurants in Bali that can donate used cooking oil?

Find out how you can switch to biodiesel  

A story by Our Better World – telling stories of good to inspire action.

Indah Gilang Pusparani

Indah is a researcher at Badan Perencanaan Pembangunan Penelitian dan Pengembangan Daerah Kota Cirebon (Regional Development Planning and Research Agency of Cirebon Municipality). She covers More international relations, tourism, and startups in Southeast Asia region and beyond. Indah graduated from MSc Development Administration and Planning from University College London, United Kingdom in 2015. She finished bachelor degree from International Relations from University of Indonesia in 2014, with two exchange programs in Political Science at National University of Singapore and New Media in Journalism at Ball State University, USA. She was awarded Diplomacy Award at Harvard World Model United Nations and named as Indonesian Gifted Researcher by Australian National University. She is Researcher at Regional Planning Board in Cirebon, West Java. She previously worked as Editor in Bening Communication, the Commonwealth Parliament Association UK, and diplomacy consulting firm Best Delegate LLC in USA. Less
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