Dung Beetle - VW runs on sewage

A Water company in the West Country has converted a Volkswagen Beetle to run on biogas made from sewage.

The project aims to show there are readily-available alternatives to fossil fuels with performance of the Bio-Bug is not noticeably different from that of a standard petrol-driven Beetle.

GENeco's general manager, Mohammed Saddiq, is confident methane from sewage sludge could be used as another energy source and is an innovative way of powering company vehicles.

He said: "Our site at Avonmouth has been producing biogas for many years which we use to generate electricity to power the site and export to the National Grid.
"With the surplus gas we had available we wanted to put it to good use in a sustainable and efficient way.

"We decided to power a vehicle on the gas offering a sustainable alternative to using fossil fuels which we so heavily rely on in the UK.

"If you were to drive the car you wouldn't know it was powered by biogas as it performs just like any conventional car. It is probably the most sustainable car around."

The methane is made using anaerobic digestion. GENeco believes it will produce more gas at its Avonmouth site when food waste recycling begins there.

"Waste flushed down the toilets in homes in the city provides power for the Bio-Bug, but it won't be long before further energy is produced when food waste is recycled at our sewage works," added Mr Saddiq.

"It will mean that both human waste and food waste will be put to good use in a sustainable way that diverts waste from going to landfill."

Veteran environmentalist and former edie awards judge, Jonathan Porritt, said: "On first hearing of the Bio-Bug, some people will smile, and some people will go 'yuck'.

"Either way, what I hope they realise is that this is exactly the kind of innovation we now need for a more sustainable world - and those directly involved should be proud they're making a small but significant contribution to it every day."

David Gibbs


anaerobic digestion | energy from waste | zero-carbon


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