UK Unveils First Bus Powered by… Human Poop?

Get ready for a whole new breed of “gas” jokes. Believe it or not, human feces is fueling a new public bus in the United Kingdom.

The Bio-Bus relies solely on converted human and food waste accumulated at a sewage treatment plant. Holding up to 40 passengers at a time, this bus is expected to transport roughly 10,000 passengers per month to and from Bristol Airport and the city of Bath.

Rather than focusing on the brown aspect of the bus, the real excitement is looking at the bus’s green side. Biowaste, an emerging energy source, is considered an environmentally smart choice. Currently, vehicles fueled by biomethane release 30% less carbon dioxide than typical gas-guzzling automobiles. While you may not associate poop with improving air quality, in the long run, it’s definitely a healthier alternative.

The Bio-Bus makes no secret about how it is fueled to its passengers. In an interesting artistic choice, the side of the bus is decorated with an animated depiction of people sitting on toilets. Unlike the picture, however, the riders are not literally, uh, “powering” the bus as it moves.

Although, truthfully, the passengers could very well have played a part in fueling the bus. Since the bus uses waste from a local sewage treatment plant in Avonmouth, Bristol, manager Mohammed Saddiq points out that the bus “is actually powered by people living in the local area, including quite possibly those on the bus itself.”

Okay, okay, so it works… but given the material it’s working with, one of the other pressing concerns is whether it smells. Fortunately, the biogas is almost entirely odorless. When the waste is converted to fuel, the qualities that make the waste smell unpleasant are removed.

One tank of biomethane generates enough power for four-and-a-half round trips between the airport and Bath’s city center. For context, one tank is the product of about five people’s annual supply of food scraps and bowel movements.

Although it might initially be hard to shake the icky associations of using former fecal matter to power our lives, it just may be an important way of the future. As the BBC notes, the Bristol sewage treatment plant produces enough biomethane in a year to cover the electricity for more than 8,000 households.

Already, another part of the UK, Slough, has experimented with using sewage flakes to generate electricity. Meanwhile, in the United States, dairy farmers have converted biomethane from cows to run their milk trucks. It looks like there’s a good use for poop even after it’s been flushed!

Photo Credit: GENeco

105 comments

fuk you f.
fuk you f2 years ago

Thank god there will always be an England.

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Cheryl coscia
cheryl coscia2 years ago

Well, if it works, why not. It has to be better than the present form of fuel.

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

Agreed. We are definitely full of it so it can drive forever.

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Megan Kk
Megan Kk3 years ago

stick a collection tube above every pile of waste and use the methane :D

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John Wedderburn
3 years ago

A really good idea. Using human waste (body and food) and animal wastes is much better than using crops to make biofuel.

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Lorraine Andersen

well we have to get rid of it somehow, this looks like a great solution

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Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

Thank you

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Ronel Van Vuuren
Ronel v3 years ago

ha ha ha WHAT !!!!

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ERIKA SOMLAI
ERIKA S3 years ago

interesting idea

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JD She
JD She3 years ago

People knit on the toilet?

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