Well our faeces have definitely received some well deserved credit this week. Yesterday it was announced that human and animal waste can power our everyday gadgets such as smart phones and laptops. Today, we’ve found out that a bus powered by human and food waste has been in full operation!
It is a 40 seat ‘bio-bus’, UK’s first of its kind, traveling between Bristol and Bath in South West England. It can travel up to 186 miles on a full tank of gas which only takes the annual waste of five people to produce. It runs on biomethane gas, which is generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste and this treatment takes place at a waste centre in Avonmouth, run by GENeco.
“Bio-Bus is actually powered by people living in the local area, including quite possibly those on the bus itself!” Says Mohammed Saddiq, the general manager at GENeco.
So how does the bio-bus actually work?
- Its combustion engine is similar in design to diesel equivalents in conventional buses
- Compressed gas is stored in dome-like tanks on the roof of the Bio-Bus
- The gas is generated through anaerobic digestion – where oxygen starved bacteria breaks down biodegradable material to produce methane-rich biogas
- To power a vehicle, the biogas undergoes “upgrading”, where carbon dioxide is removed and propane added
- Impurities are removed to produce virtually odour free emissions
- Compared to conventional diesel vehicles, up to 30% less carbon dioxide is emitted