UK's First 'Poo Bus' Hits the Road

UK's First 'Poo Bus' Hits the RoadUK's First 'Poo Bus' Hits the Road

The UK's first bus powered entirely by human and food waste has gone into service between Bristol and Bath.

The 40-seat “Bio-Bus” runs on biomethane gas, generated through the treatment of sewage and food waste. It can travel up to 186 miles (300 km) on one tank of gas, which takes the annual waste of around five people to produce, according to BBC.

Engineers believe the bus could provide a sustainable way of fuelling public transport while improving urban air quality.

The gas is generated at Bristol sewage treatment works, run by GENeco, a subsidiary of Wessex Water. It produces fewer emissions than traditional diesel engines and is both renewable and sustainable. This week, the company also became the first in the UK to inject gas generated from human and food waste into the national gas grid network.

 “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,” Mohammed Saddiq, general manager of GENeco, said.

Bristol sewage treatment works processes around 75m cubic metres of sewage waste and 35,000 tons of food waste collected from households, supermarkets and food manufacturers each year. A total of 17m cubic meters of biomethane – the equivalent of meeting the power needs of 8,300 homes – is generated each year at the plant through a process known as anaerobic digestion. The biomethane is being produced at a sewage treatment plant; the BBC says it "takes the annual waste of about five people to produce" a full tank.

While the "poo bus" is a first in Britain, the biomethane idea took hold in Norway several years ago. It's also been used in Germany and Sweden.

Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association, added: “A home generated green gas, biomethane, is capable of replacing around 10% of the UK’s domestic gas needs and is currently the only renewable fuel available for HGVs. “The bus also clearly shows that human poo and our waste food are valuable resources.