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31.12.2014
United Kingdom
Sector: CNG

Bio-Bus - very natural gas

Compressed natural gas as motor fuel? Boring! Renewable biomethane instead of fossil resource? Better. But what if biomethane was produced from our... well, you know... poo? Now that's interesting!
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GENeco's Bio-Bus© GENecoEven though some might find the fuel's origin disturbing, the old truth holds true: money (saved on displacing diesel with biogas) doesn't stink!

The Bio-Bus is hardly revolutionary, rather evolutionary if anything – it has been built by the same people who, a couple of years prior, built the Bio-Bug, i. e. a Volkswagen Beetle with a CNG system powered with renewable gas produced at a biogas plant adjacent to a water treatment facility. The Bio-Bus works pretty much the same, which is demonstrated rather explicitly by an illustration on its side: you sit on your "porcelain throne", do your thing, flush and then, at the biogas plant, your "donation” is transformed into quite decent fuel which can be used to power a bus running between Bath and the Bristol Airport.

However, there's a catch. You would think than with an endless flow of, erm... input material and its perfectly natural source, the bus' environmental record would be next to incredible, with CO2 emissions dropping to none at all on a well-to-wheel basis or even going sub-zero. No way, though – since the feedstock must be subjected to some serious chemical treatment and removal of excess carbon dioxide (plus some propane is added into the final mix), CO2 emissions fall by "only” 30% compared to diesel. Besides, the bus isn't directly refueled with "poomethane” (the tanks are on the roof). Instead it's fed into the general gas grid, so the vehicles breathes out regular amounts of CO2, which are offset by GENeco by producing the cleaner fuel.

The offset rate far exceeds the bus' fuel needs, though – the company produces enough gas to supply 8500 UK homes apart from the bus. And the bus itself (a 40-passenger people carrier) covers up to 300 km on a single refueling, which means it can cover the approx. 30 km route five times back and forth. The range is enough for a day of work and then the tanks are refilled at the depot. If passengers don't complain (knowing British sense of humour, there should be some spicy jokes regarding the way fuel for the bus is produced, but few should be offended), more vehicles will appear soon. However, there are parts of Europe and the world where a bus sporting a picture of people sitting on their toilets would be unthinkable...



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Robert Markowski
source: GENeco



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