Bristol, UK — The UK’s first ever bus powered on food waste and human poo has been taken to the road which engineers believe could provide a sustainable way of fuelling public transport. The 40-seater Bio-Bus, which runs on gas generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste that’s unfit for human consumption, helps to improve urban air quality as it produces fewer emissions than traditional diesel engines.
Running on waste products that are both renewable and sustainable, the bus can travel up to 300km on a full tank of gas generated at Bristol sewage treatment works – a plant run by GENeco, a subsidiary of Wessex Water. Last week GENeco 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.
GENeco general manager Mohammed Saddiq said: „Through treating sewage and food thats 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.“
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. Through anaerobic digestion, 17 million cubic metres of biomethane is generated a year at the Bristol plant – the equivalent of meeting the power needs of 8,300 homes. A newly built state-of-the-art gas plant injects the gas into the grid.
Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), said: „GENecos 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 per cent of the UKs 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.“
Source: Wessex Water Enterprises Limited.(trading as GENeco)