Clean energy goes down the toilet, literally
Who would have thought that poo could be a source of clean energy?
In the United Kingdom, there is a bus running between the city of Bath and Bristol Airport that operates on a very special type of biogas. Fuel is made from the excrement of the local population, which is collected after it’s been treated at a water purification plant, along with food waste.
How can it be turned into energy? As the poo decomposes, it produces methane gas. This is then mixed with another gas called propane. Together, they create a fuel on which you can run an engine.
Amazingly, the waste produced by a family of five over one year is enough to run a bus carrying 40 people for 300 kilometers. This new source of energy is far less polluting than petrol, because it releases very few greenhouse gases, which are a cause of global warming.
By comparison, the fuel releases 80% less nitrous oxide and 25% less carbon dioxide than a diesel motor.
Passengers need not worry: the Bio Bus, or ‘Poo Bus’ as it has been nicknamed, doesn’t give off any nasty odors!
“It improves the quality of the air and above all, it operates be- cause of people who live in the area, no doubt the very people who use it,” joked the director of GENeco, the company which built the vehicle, to British newspaper The Telegraph.
What’s more, the bus doesn’t hide its unusual energy source. Instead, it boasts about it! On the side of the bus there are pictures of people sitting on the loo doing their business, reading a newspaper or listening to music.
This environmentally friendly initiative demonstrates how Bristol is committed to limiting the impact of climate change. For one year, from January onwards, the city is the designated European Green Capital for 2015.
The Poo Bus underwent trials in November 2014 but since this spring, it has been operating a regular service. Schoolchildren also use the bus and think it’s great fun.
Elsewhere in Europe, the Norwegian capital Oslo has started running around 100 buses operating on human waste. Other cities are also starting to think about using excrement and other waste as fuel for public transport, and that’s not all: it could even be used in future to heat homes.
This new source of recycled energy no doubt has a bright future. After all, it’s cheap and we have an endless supply!
The UK’s first ever bus to run on human waste launched, which runs between Bristol and Bath, two cities in southwest England.