The concept

The Kanteen is an innovative food van that runs on its own cooking oil. It would be designed with an integrated kitchen and an efficient system capable of processing used oil into biodiesel fuel.

The background

Recently I met a tinkerer (M. Pickle) who uses cooking oil to power his own truck. To do this, he has to complete a series of steps in his garage, but it’s possible to scale down the system he uses. I thought, why not use this type of fuel to power some sort of food truck? These kinds of vehicles don’t need to travel a lot of miles since they mostly remain parked all day. If the vehicle is well designed and not too heavy, it would probably be feasible to power the engine with the oil used during the day to fry noodles, cook Japanese tempura or make fish and chips. The air conditioning, lighting, refrigerator and other equipment could run on electricity coming from the grid (given that the city assigns specific spots to each licence owner).

How it works

The front cabin of the Kanteen would be used to drive the vehicle, and it would also double as an office or storage area. The back part would feature a standard kitchen with a stainless steel counter. The oil treating system would be integrated in the lower frame of the vehicle. The entrepreneur/chef would start his day with new oil in his deep-fry pan. When necessary, the used oil would be drained with the push of a button and the conversion to biodiesel would start. The Kanteen would also have a separate tank to store additional biodiesel in case it needs some to complete a trip. This ‘van-trike’ would be powered by a three-cylinder 1300cc engine capable of burning biodiesel. To learn more about how to prepare used cooking oil for biodiesel, click here.

Similar to the Rolinfüd concept, the customers would be able to pay for their food with a mobile device or a biometric payment system. To avoid having to meet the strict car certification norms, the Kanteen would only have three wheels so may be registered as a motorcycle. This means the Kanteen would mostly travel at low speeds on city streets.

What it’s used for

Street food has always been a part of major cities, and I don’t think that deep-fried foods will disappear from their menu in the medium term… If it’s possible to develop a compact and efficient system to transform the oil, why not use it to power vehicles like the Kanteen? Of course, it might simply be better to stop eating deep-fried food and opt for a healthier lifestyle. Then maybe an electric Kanteen (Or van-trike) would make sense too!


The Kanteen concept was imagined in July 2015 by Charles Bombardier and the images were created by Adolfo Esquivel. Adolfo earned an industrial design degree in Colombia and completed a postgraduate study in events design at UQAM in Montreal. He currently works as a freelance industrial designer in Montreal. Adolfo also created the design of the Roswell FS-II flying saucer and the Otöcon vehicle inspection and traffic drone concept.