Bristol, buses run on toilets and rotten food

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After the success of the pilot project, the city now wants 100 bio-buses that function with sewage waste and food waste.

Bristol aims at improving the quality of its air with the use of sewage waste. Paradox? Not really. The only problem is choosing between producing unhealthy exhaust gas emissions or travelling on public transports filled with human waste, although suitably treated. We are talking about the Bio-Bus, a bus that runs entirely on human waste and food waste. After the success of the pilot project, it seems that the British city will soon deploy a whole fleet of these peculiar vehicles.

The first Bio-Bus has been driving around Bristol since March: it has 40 places and functions with bio-methane generated by sewage and food waste. Now the operator First West of England wants to put 110 vehicles into operation, and has submitted a proposal to the government for that purpose.

“If we are successful – explains Jenny MacLeod of First West of England – we will be leading the way in creating a fully-sustainable public transport network that can really make the difference for the people of Bristol.”

The initiative seems so interesting that also Wessex Bus, the competing operator, has submitted a similar proposal to the government, and plans to bring 20 more bio-buses to the city by 2019.

The bio-methane for the buses is produced in a Bristol waste treatment facility managed by GENeco, which plans to build a permanent gas station for the buses in its facility.

“This is a great opportunity to improve the quality of air – explained Antony Gozee of Wessex Bus – We believe that bio-buses will be the most sustainable bus fleet of great Britain, because it will be entirely powered by the gas obtained with the treatment of sewage waste and unusable food waste coming from local communities.”

Compared to diesel vehicles, bio-buses emit 30% less carbon dioxide. The amount of sewage and food waste per passenger in a year provides enough fuel to power the bus for 60 km. No worries about possible “olfactory” side effects: the treatment process eliminates all impurities from the fuel, so as to guarantee odourless emissions.

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