Since Tony Blair signed the EU agreement for green energy production, the UK government, companies and people have started working around the clock to meet the high standards imposed by the EU.
The first bus to be entirely powered by human and food waste has just hit the streets. The Bio-Bus is a 40-seater transport service between the historical city of Bath and Bristol Airport, and can travel up to 186 miles on only one tank of gas. The gas is produced through the treatment of sewage and food waste that is unfit for human consumption.
Engineers working on this project think the Bio-Bus can provide a sustainable way of bolstering public transport and improving urban air quality. Biomethane produces less CO2 emissions than traditional diesel engines and also goes in line with the idea of both sustainable and renewable.
The gas which powers the bus is produced at Bristol sewage treatment plant, that is managed by GENeco, a subsidiary of Wessex Water. Also, the company became the first one in the UK to give away gas generated from human and food waste into the national gas grid network. GENeco general manager, Mohammed Saddiq stated the following regarding this biomethane project:
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.”
What can be understood from his statement is that biomethane doesn’t only provide a sustainable fuel, but it can also reduce people’s dependence on traditional fossil fuels.
On a full tank, the Bio-Bus can travel up to 186 miles on a full tank of gas, which roughly translated means the annual waste of around 5 people to create. For example, the annual waste generated from one bus full of passengers will provide enough power for a return journey from the most south point in the UK to its most north point, also known as the road from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
The company which is operating this service is the Bath Bus Company and they will use the Bio-Bus for its fast paced growing A4 service from the city of Bath to Bristol Airport via South Bristol. Collin Field, engineering director at Bath Bus Company, proves that this service is used by many people and the usefulness of biomethane by stating the following: “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.
GENeco uses the waste plant in Avonmouth, Bristol, in order to process a huge number of sewage waste, in the region of 75 million cubic meters and 35,000 tonnes of food waste every year. Using the technological process of anaerobic digestion, bacteria break down substances in the absence of oxygen, thus enabling the plant to generate 17 million tonnes of biomethane a year.