Here’s a new renewable energy twist on the old bumper sticker — circa the 1970s oil crisis — “Eat More Beans, We Need the Gas!" Take the “Poop Bus!”
Today, that’s not so silly or outlandish, because public transport powered by human waste and sewage could be coming to a bus stop near you before too long. In fact there's one operating now in the U.K. on a trial run basis.
Billed as the “next big trend in sustainable energy,” according to The Guardian, the U.K.’s 'Bio-Bus' runs entirely on biomethane gas generated through the treatment of sewage, as well as food waste that's unfit for human consumption. The waste and sewage is treated at a plant run by the recycling and renewable energy company GENeco. The 40-seat Bio-Bus can travel up to 186 miles on one tank of gas, which takes the annual waste of around five people to produce.
Also known as the 'poop bus,' it is run by Bath Bus Co. and began operating on Monday on the A4 service between Bath and Bristol Airport.
Collin Field, engineering director at Bath Bus, said: "Up to 10,000 passengers are expected to travel on the A4 service during the four-week trial period, which is available not only for airport travel, but also local journeys along the route through Saltford, Keynsham, Brislington, Knowle and Hengrove.”
In a press release, GENeco general manager Mohammed Saddiq said the Bio-Bus “is actually powered by people living in the local area, including quite possibly those on the bus itself.”
Biomethane has been around for some time and, bodily function jokes aside, is viewed as a legitimate source of renewable energy. In 2009, the city of Oslo, Norway converted 80 public buses to run on biomethane. And some European countries, like Sweden, have been using biogas to power vehicles for years.
So, if you are going to overeat this holiday season, take some comfort (and Tums) in knowing that someday you might just aid the renewable energy cause.
Image credit: The Bio-Bus from the Bath Bus Co. site