Clean energy goes down the toi­let, lit­er­ally

The China Post - - COMMENTARY - BY A. TARIEL

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!

Wes­sex Wa­ter/REx

The UK’s first ever bus to run on hu­man waste launched, which runs be­tween Bristol and Bath, two cities in south­west Eng­land.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.