Time to Ride the UK's New Human Poop-Powered Bus

Time to Ride the UK's New Human Poop-Powered Bus

Wessex Water is powered it's new 40-passenger bus with food, human waste.

Across the pond, Wessex Water is primarily focused on water supply, and sewage treatment services. Now they're taking that waste expertise and applying it to the public transportation grid.

The Bio Bus is a new 40-passenger bus built by Wessex underling GENeco. The bus runs solely on bio-methane gas -- a compound made, in this case, exclusively from food waste and human waste. Using bio-methane as an energy source isn't by any means a new idea, as Wessex and GENeco have been using it to power and heat homes in the UK (about 8,500 homes on average, in fact). But using it to power a vehicle is a new venture that could push waste recycling to new highs.

Once its tank is topped off, the Bio Bus can travel 186 miles before needing another stop at the ol' methane gas station. Wessex says the bus will be servicing the A4 route between the Bristol airport, and downtown Bath.

So how does your garbage and crap end up powering a bus? Through a process called anaerobic digestion. The short version: in an environment where oxygen is lacking, microorganisms feed on biodegradable material, break it down, and convert the energy into methane gas. This gas is then purified, and used to power engines, or it's fed into your local natural has grid.

While the process isn't wholly new, it does represent a "next frontier" of sorts when it comes to recycling and renewable energy (renewable in the sense that we will always eat and poop). We've already mastered recycled plastic, paper, metal, and other categories, so hopefully food waste, and whatever you're leaving in the bathroom after you're done reading the paper in the morning, can be recycled as well.

Sources: Wessex Water | Engadget

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Between Bristol Airport and Bath? Looks like First Bus won't be the only busses around here full of shit anymore.

Truly we are entering a new age of comedy gold.

Man, imagine the bio methane ever leaked out? It will be a right stink. None the less it is an marvellous idea!

Why not? Our public transport already runs like shit. I sincerely apologise for that crappy pun.

Scarim Coral:
Man, imagine the bio methane ever leaked out? It will be a right stink.

You wouldn't notice the difference.

OK the A4 is the bus route name, however the A4 road does not go to Bristol Airport but the A4 bus does run along the A4 until Brislington. I only wanted to confuse the issue.

Before you know it, we will power our future cars with Mr. Fusion. Just chuck some banana peels, a bit of beer and a beer can into it and you're good to go.

And for the nitpicks amongst us: I know that the DeLorean still needed unleaded gasoline. But in the 80's the technology of having a car just run on electricity was something at that time inconceivable.

Well, the first lithium-ion battery was still a prototype and 2 years after the film came out the first commercial version. Although governments did investigate the possibility of a electric car after the energy crisis in the 70's and 80's but technology was behind and not feasible.

So the writers probably didn't think it all the way through but the again, it's still a film. Not Carl Sagan his wet dream.

So is waste/poop powered bus actually efficient in any way? Or is it a gimmick? I am not too good with chemistry/engineering, so I wouldn't know myself, but at a glance i don't see the downfall of using waste as fuel.

Rosiv:
So is waste/poop powered bus actually efficient in any way? Or is it a gimmick? I am not too good with chemistry/engineering, so I wouldn't know myself, but at a glance i don't see the downfall of using waste as fuel.

As far as I know, it's not particularly efficient, but otherwise it's just going to be thrown back into a river/sea, so you may as well get some mileage out of it. It's like having old noodles for lunch; sure, there are better lunches, ut it fills you up and it's just going to go to waste otherwise.

I hold out hope they can apply this technology to trains soon, just so I can make "I'm the conductor of the poop-train!" jokes. :-P

Downtown Bath you say?

Well, just for bragging rights i think i need to pop into town to take a ride on the shitmobile!

I'll then have to figure out what to do at Bristol Airport, thats not the point

Devin Connors:

Wessex Water is powered it's new 40-passenger bus with food, human waste.

Ummm what? You mean has powered right?

OT: This sounds cool in theory but how much Waste does it need per day to run?

But, if we use discarded materials for fuel, we ruin the recycling chain, as laid forth in Futurama... Beer cans get turned into robots, old robots get turned into beer cans, and sandwiches are made of old discarded sandwiches. That last one doesn't work if they're being used to power public transport.

Well SHIT

(Had to be said.)

I heard about this kind of thing in cartoons, back in the day, but it wasn't until I heard about grease-powered cars (real deal, powered by the stuff they toss out in back of McDonalds), I wouldn't have taken this seriously. Now that this is here, though, I see two things that need to be addressed.

{1} Hopefully, they separate enough bio-matter that it does not retain a smell.

{2} Double hopefully, nobody will ever do the obvious thing of lighting the bus' exhaust-farts.

Captcha: I'm sorry

BULLSHIT! If you were sorry, you'd stop testing me for being a robot. I'm a real boy! A real boy!

Well... Karl Pilkington is having a laugh now isn't he.

Yeah, that's basically the perfect metaphor for the UK right there.

Rosiv:
So is waste/poop powered bus actually efficient in any way? Or is it a gimmick? I am not too good with chemistry/engineering, so I wouldn't know myself, but at a glance i don't see the downfall of using waste as fuel.

Wessex water is responsible for the treatment of sewage which does produce methane anyway. Methane is used some cars and vans already, the problem is there isn't a widespread distribution and methane is expensive as well. These kind of projects are ok for small scale use but they don't work as a mass replacement for current petrol or diesel vehicles.

TheRightToArmBears:
Between Bristol Airport and Bath? Looks like First Bus won't be the only busses around here full of shit anymore.

There seems to be a surprisingly large number of West Country folk on this forum.
Don't even get me started on First Buses. It was quicker to walk 4 miles to work than to wait for and catch the 75 during rush hour.

On topic though, it sounds like a good idea. I wonder if the exhaust fumes smell worse than a normal car's.

But.... why?

 

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