Case study: Bio-Bus

A step change in sustainable transport

A step change in sustainable transport

The GENeco Bio-Bus showcased the possibilities of biomethane powered transport. After running a successful trial route between Bath and Bristol Airport, the GENeco Bio-Bus was used in regular service within the city of Bristol.

"Gas-powered vehicles have an important role to play in improving air quality in UK cities. But the Bio-Bus goes further than that, and is actually powered by people living in the local area – including quite possibly those on the bus itself."

Mohammed Saddiq
Mohammed Saddiq Managing Director

The Bio-Bus was the first bus in the UK to be powered by gas derived from food, sewage and commercial liquid wastes. The bus travelled over 300km on a full tank of gas (stored on the roof), an amount of fuel which can be produced by the annual food and sewage waste of just five passengers. The distinctive livery on the bus depicted the source of the fuel that powered the bus.

The fuel harnesses a natural process called anaerobic digestion (AD). In anoxic environments, organic matter in waste breaks down to produce methane-rich biogas. This biological phenomenon can be harvested and optimised via anaerobic digestion to produce biomethane.

In addition to reducing global reliance on fossil fuels, the widespread use of gas-powered vehicles has the potential to significantly improve urban air quality and reduce the number of health problems associated with air pollution exposure.

The development of Bio-Bus followed the success of our initial trial vehicle, the Bio-Bug, the UK’s first VW Beetle powered by human waste.

Environmental benefits

The widespread use of gas-powered vehicles has the potential to significantly improve urban air quality. Exhaust emissions fuel offer significant air quality improvements in comparison to diesel:

  • up to 97% reduction in dangerous particulate (pm2.5 and pm10) emissions; microscopic matter which can pass easily from the lungs into the bloodstream. Recent research by Public Health England demonstrates that one in 20 of the UK population in urban centres will suffer an early death directly attributable to particulate emissions.
  • 80 - 90 % reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx). High levels of NOx gases contribute to the formation of acid rain and city smog, and have a negative effect on vegetation growth.
  • Well-to-wheel biomethane produces 95% less CO2 than diesel; tank-to-wheel, CO2 emissions are 20 to 30% lower than from diesel vehicles.

In the long term biomethane represents a sustainable and renewably sourced alternative to fossil fuels.