The Bio-Bus is capable of travelling up to 300km on gas generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste. Engineers believe it could provide a sustainable way of fuelling public transport – producing fewer emissions than diesel-powered vehicles and helping improve air quality in towns and cities.

Recycling and renewable energy company GENeco is responsible for the running of Bristol sewage treatment works, where gas is generated.

The company’s general manager Mohammed Saddiq said: “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.

“Gas powered vehicles have an important role to play in improving air quality in UK cities, but the Bio-Bus goes further than that and is actually powered by people living in the local area, including quite possibly those on the bus itself.

“Using biomethane in this way not only provides a sustainable fuel, but also reduces our reliance on traditional fossil fuels.”

Air quality

The first passengers to board the Bio-Bus, operated by Bath Bus Company, were commuters from Bristol Airport to the city of Bath.

Bath Bus Company engineering director Collin Field said: “With so much attention being directed towards improving air quality generally, the public reaction to the appearance of this bus on a service between a World Heritage City and an airport will further focus on the potential for this particular fuel.”

VIDEO: The science behind the UK’s first food and poo-powered bus

Earlier this month, British waste management and recycling firm Business Waste suggested that power from human waste is ‘the ultimate in green energy’ that would cut the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels and dramatically reduce CO2 emissions.

Yesterday (19 November), the European Court of Justice ruled against the UK Government over its failure to comply with EU air pollution legal limits. A scale-up of the Bio-Bus project could go some way towards solving the UK’s air pollution problem.

Lois Vallely

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