The UK’s First “Poo Bus” Commences Service
A “Bio-Bus” running purely on biomethane gas has just entered service between Bristol and Bath in the UK.
The 40-seater bus operates on methane gas generated at Bristol sewage treatment works, which is run by GENeco.
The General Manager of GENeco, Mr. Mohammed Saddiq was quoted by the BBC Website as saying “Gas-powered vehicles have an important role to play in improving air quality in UK cities but the Bio-Bus goes further than that and is actually powered by people living in the local area, including quite possibly those on the bus itself”
The Bristol sewage plant in Avonmouth treats around 75 million cubic meters of sewage and 35,000 tons of food waste per year.
From this a total of 17 million cubic meters of bio methane gas is produced, through a process known as anaerobic digestion, this is enough to power over 8000 homes.
Anaerobic digestion is where air tight tanks are fed with biomass waste such as food waste, manure or other biodegradable wastes such as sewage sludge. Microorganisms then transform the biomass waste into biogas and digestate.
This biogas can be used in much the same way as natural gas, to fuel gas turbines in power plants, heat homes or even be converted for use in vehicles. As a vehicle fuel it produces 30% less carbon dioxide than diesel. Additionally, the digestate can easily be turned into an agriculture fertilizer, so the system is completely renewable.
There are other bio methane buses in use in the UK, but these run on methane gas generated from food and animal waste so the affectionately named “number two bus” is the first of its kind for the UK.
It’s a positive step towards effective waste management and greenhouse gas reduction. However, there is still some way to go before the UK catches up with the likes of Germany, Austria and Sweden who are all fairly advanced in their use of biogas.
In North America the use of biogas is also becoming more popular and has huge potential. According to a 2008 study it was estimated that methane biogas from cow manure could be sufficient to produce 100 billion kilowatt hours of energy. It would also reduce 99 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
It’s certainly something to think about next time you take a poo.
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