Photo Of The Day

Photo: Wessex Water/GENeco. Bio-Bus, UK’s First Poo-Powered Transport Service Bus splashes down the road.

Photo: Wessex Water/GENeco.
Bio-Bus, UK’s First Poo-Powered Transport Service Bus splashes down the road.

All Aboard the Poo Bus! Ding Ding, Route Number Two Departing

One man’s waste is another’s man’s bus fuel, so the saying might now go. Indeed, next time people in the UK go for a number two, they could be powering the number two bus.

If you frequently use derogatory four-letter words to describe public transport, then you’re much nearer the truth than you probably ever intended. Buses in Bristol are now eschewing boring old diesel and instead running on human waste.

Steaming between Bristol Airport and Bath city centre, the Bio-Bus transports 40 people and can cover up to 186 miles on a tank of gas. That’s the annual, err, emissions of five people. Those with a distrust of technology will be mildly horrified to know that it’s all stored above their heads, in the dome-like tank atop the bus.

The “Bio-Bus” will run up to two times a day and is expected to carry around 10,000 passengers a month by tour operator Bath Bus Company. It can travel up to 300km on a full tank of pressurised methane, which is produced from the equivalent annual waste of five people.

The Bio-Bus will be powered by people living in the area “including quite possibly those on the bus itself,” said Mohammed Saddiq, GENeco general manager – the company which generates the biomethane gas that will fuel the service. This is done at the Bristol sewage works.

Bristol sewage treatment works annually treats around 75 million cubic metres of sewage waste and 35,000 tonnes of food waste, collected from households, supermarkets and food manufacturers. Through a process known as anaerobic digestion, 17 million cubic metres of biomethane is generated a year at the Bristol plant. GENeco said this could power 8,300 homes, though in fact most of it is used to power the treatment plant itself. However there is a surplus of biogas left over for projects such as the Poo Bus.

In 2010 GENeco powered a car on biomethane produced during the sewage treatment process. The Bio-Bug was used in various trials to see how viable it was to power a vehicle on sewage gas.

Using the annual waste generated from one busload of passengers would provide enough power for the Poo Bus to travel a return journey from Lands End to John O’Groats, said Wessex Water.


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  • The Whinging Pom

    I worked for Wessex Water about 30 years ago.

    Even back then they viewed their large Avonmouth Sewage Treatment Works as one of the jewels in their crown.

    Using 4 Perkins turbines (I think – it’s been a long time since I visited the site!) installed (IIRC) in 1962 – they powered the whole site – one of the largest in the UK – from electricity generated from the methane in the sewage. And on top of that fed back sufficient power into the grid to power (we were told) a village of 2000 houses. On top of that they’d also adapted the Vauxhall Viva HA vans to run on the gas which was readily available to them.

  • MAWG

    Len Brown is full of enough ‘fuel’ to make his public transport viable!

  • Tony Norriss

    Looks like it could be rather messy for the woman in the orange/yellow?? dress!!

  • So assuming all Wellingtons 470 buses are converted to poo power and all do 100000km/year you need a population to fuel them of about 790K people. That is a bit bigger than the greater Wellington population. As far as a realistic alternative fuel, it will have niche applications and is certainly worth developing, but is not world changing.

  • Davo42

    Cool! This thing essentially runs on fart gas, imagine all the Mamils peddling along behind these busses whilst huffing in all those succulent exhaust gasses, they will need to add a respirator mask to thier already bizzare lycra ensembles.

  • dgrogan

    If the price of milk solids keeps dropping, we could always take an alternative, or at the very least, a diversified interest in the back end of the dairy herd. That might even keep the Greens happy.