One third of London buses to be powered by green biodiesel

After a successful two month trial period, one third of London's bus fleet will soon by powered by a biofuel-diesel hybrid, resulting in more than 21,000 tonnes of carbon emissions being reduced annually.

Biodeisel producers Argent Energy has teamed up with transport operators Stagecoach and Metroline to supply around 3,000 buses with B20 green diesel, a renewable fuel that uses waste products such as cooking oil and tallow from the meat processing trade.

Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Matthew Pencharz, said: “As a leading global city London has an important role to play in reducing greenhouse gases and minimising our contribution to climate change.

“Just a fortnight after the Mayor’s visit to the Paris conference on preventing global warming, I am very pleased to announce that nearly a third of London’s buses will now be running on biodiesel, slashing the overall carbon emissions of the fleet and making use of fuels that would otherwise be clogging up our drains. These buses will be a proud addition to what is already the greenest bus fleet in the world, including hybrid, pure electric and pure hydrogen vehicles.

“This is ongoing progress for running our bus fleets on waste products and cutting CO2. We will continue to work with our industry partners to use more of London’s used cooking oil turned into biodiesel right here in the city, creating green jobs and fuel self-sufficiency benefits.”

A two month trial was launched earlier this year which saw 642 buses, operating at four Stagecoach depots, commuting around the capital using B20 as fuel. By March next year one third of London’s 8,900 strong fleet will be powered by the hybrid fuel.

Biodiesel is usually blended from crop-based feedstocks as a way to provide renewable, clean-burning fuel. However as part of Transport for London’s specifications B20 is made from waste oil and fats. The use of waste is set to reduce to carbon emissions from each bus by 10%.

London’s bus fleet already consists of more than 1,500 hybrid electric buses and 15 pure electric buses which have combined to reduce carbon emissions from bus use by 48,000 tonnes since 2013. More than 2,000 older buses have also been retrofitted to reduce emissions by up to 88% per bus.

The world’s first purpose-built double deck electric bus is also set enter the fleet in the near the future.

Future fuels

Transport for London has announced that 51 all-electric buses will be entering service in the capital from autumn next year. The number of hybrids will increase to more than 1,700 during this time.

Outside of London the European Green Capital city of Bristol could soon be home to a fleet of a 130 ‘poo-powered’ buses after a successful pilot project earlier this year.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie