London bus pilot powers up with waste biodiesel

More than 100 London buses will run on fuel derived from used cooking oil and other food waste in a pilot scheme announced today by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

All of the buses that run from a depot in Barking, east London will be powered by a blend of 80% regular diesel and 20% biodiesel in a scheme that aims to cut the carbon emissions of each bus by about 15%.

If proved successful, the scheme will be rolled out across the whole of Transport for London’s bus fleet in the future. The pilot buses are currently covering 10 routes and a 50,000 litre storage tank has been installed at the garage, enabling the biofuel to be mixed on-site, reducing costs.

Currently the 8,700-strong bus fleet that runs across the capital uses around 250 million litres of fuel each year, with 3.7 million litres used by buses operating out of the Barking garage alone.

According to Transport for London’s director of buses, Mike Weston, the trial represents a significant development in its wider programme to improve the green credentials of the capital’s bus fleet.

“Using biodiesel recycles waste products, reduces carbon emissions, and we hope that by successfully trialling it we will encourage other transport operators to consider using it too,” he said.

The biodiesel pilot is one of the many measures Boris Johnson has introduced to make London’s bus fleet more environmentally friendly.

Other initiatives include operating zero emission hydrogen buses on Route RV1 between Covent Garden and Tower Gateway and delivering Europe’s largest hybrid bus fleet – 500 hybrid buses now operate on the capital’s roads.

By 2016 the aim is to have more than 1,700 hybrid buses in service on London’s streets representing 20% of the total bus fleet.

Maxine Perella

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