VIDEO: Poo Powered Bus Steams into Bristol Thanks to Biogas from Food Waste Co-Digestion

Biogas from the co-digestion of food waste and sewage at a Wessex Water facility in Bristol is being used to power the first poo powered bus in the UK. 

Biogas from the co-digestion of food waste and sewage at a Wessex Water facility in Bristol is being used to power the first poo powered bus in the UK.

According to GENeco, a subsidiary of utility firm Wessex Water, it became the first company in the UK to start injecting gas generated from food waste and sewage into the national gas grid network and at the same time installed a gas refuelling plant for the bus.

The 40-seater Bio-Bus, which runs on gas generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste that’s unfit for human consumption, is expected to help to improve urban air quality as it produces fewer emissions than traditional diesel engines.

The company added that the bus can travel up to 300km on a full tank of gas generated from the organic wastes at Bristol sewage treatment works.

“Through treating sewage and food that’s unfit for human consumption we’re able to produce enough biomethane to provide a significant supply of gas to the national gas network that’s capable of powering almost 8,500 homes as well as fuelling the Bio-Bus,” commented GENeco general manager Mohammed Saddiq.

“Gas powered vehicles have an important role to play in improving air quality in UK cities,” he added. “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.

According to GENeco, Using the annual waste generated from one bus load of passengers, would provide enough biogas for it to travel a return journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), said: “GENeco’s Bio-Bus is an excellent demonstration of biomethane’s unique benefits; decarbonising areas other renewables can’t reach. A home generated green gas, biomethane is capable of replacing around 10% of the UK’s domestic gas needs and is currently the only renewable fuel available for HGVs."

“The bus also clearly shows that human poo and our waste food are valuable resources. Food which is unsuitable for human consumption should be separately collected and recycled through anaerobic digestion into green gas and biofertilisers, not wasted in landfill sites or incinerators. The Bio-Bus will also help to demonstrate the true value of separate food waste collections, which are now obligatory in all other regions, to the English government,” concluded Morton.

Bristol sewage treatment works treats around 75 million cubic metres of sewage waste and 35,000 tonnes of food waste, collected from households, supermarkets and food manufacturers, every year.

All aboard

Today the first passengers to get on board the Bio-Bus were visitors to the UK who were commuting from Bristol Airport to the historic city of Bath.

Bath Bus Company, which is operating the service, said the bus was greener for the environment and added that it was extremely pleased to be using the Bio-Bus for its rapidly growing A4 service from Bath to Bristol Airport via South Bristol.

Collin Field, engineering director, at Bath Bus Company, said: “Up to 10,000 passengers are expected to travel on the A4 service in a month, which is available not only for airport travel, but also local journeys along the route through Saltford, Keynsham, Brislington, Knowle and Hengrove.

“As part of the RATP Dev UK group, this represents RATP Dev’s involvement in the latest of a number of initiatives to gain experience of alternative fuels, with sister companies also experimenting with different alternatives,” he added.

Melanie King, Bristol Airport’s environmental manager, added: “Sustainability and surface access are key areas of focus for us and we welcome new technologies which could reduce the environmental impact of getting to and from the Airport. With Bristol set to be European Green Capital in 2015, this is one of several exciting initiatives we hope to be involved with over the course of the year.”

The Bio-Bus has received backing from a number of businesses including the manufacturer of the bus, Scania, as well as companies including Roadgas, CNG Services Ltd, Dampney’s Agri Environmental, Trant, Grontmij and AIR Decker.

A video with more details can be viewed below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2R_MaWFABo
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