Market News

 November 19, 2014
Poo powered bus takes to the streets of Bristol

FORGET about black gold - one Bristol company has come up with a way of turning the brown stuff into fuel.

Rather than drilling under the seabed for gas, or mining thousands of feet under the ground for coal, boffins have tapped into the unlikely source of energy.

The firm has turned its back on more traditional forms of power, turning instead good, old-fashioned human poo.

And to prove the point that they have the ability to turn human waste into energy the boffins at GENeco have even created a bus that runs solely on methane rather than diesel.

The 40 seater Bio-Bus might be powered by the smelly stuff but the scientists at the firm say that technology behind it will actually improve air quality.

And from this week the bus will be ferrying passengers from south Bristol to the airport.

The bus can travel up to 180 miles before it has to have its tanks filled by up again with the specially converted methane gas.

GENeco is a subsidiary of Wessex Water and the company has been working on creating a system which can be used to convert unwanted food and poo into clean and usable energy.

The work has been carried out at Wessex water's giant sewage works in Avonmouth over the last seven years and the research is now reaching full fruition.

As well as launching the 40-seater bus the company has also started pumping methane into the national gas grid for the first time.

GENeco general manager Mohammed Saddiq said: "Through treating sewage and food that's unfit for human consumption we're able to produce enough bio-methane 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."

Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), said: "GENeco's Bio-Bus is an excellent demonstration of biomethane's unique benefits; decarbonising areas other renewables can't reach. 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. Food which is unsuitable for human consumption should be separately collected and recycled through anaerobic digestion into green gas and biofertilisers, not wasted in landfill sites or incinerators. The Bio-Bus will also help to demonstrate the true value of separate food waste collections, which are now obligatory in all other regions, to the English government."