Waste Not
Bristol's Poo-Powered Bus Now Running Regular Route

A commuter bus in Bristol, England, which runs on biomethane gas produced by food waste and fecal matter generated by 32,000 local households, entered regular service late last month. Originally launched with sporadic service in November, the waste-powered Bio-Bus, affectionately known as the “poo bus,” will now be available four days a week — on, you guessed it, Route #2.

"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," Geneco general manager Mohammed Saddiq told Gizmag in November.

The bus originally acted as a shuttle between Bristol Airport and Bath, but now provides regular service to Bristol’s city center. First West England, the company that operates the bio-bus, says that if the experiment is successful, Bristol may introduce an entire fleet of "poo buses.”

"The bus clearly shows that human poo and our waste food are valuable resources," chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association Charlotte Morton told Gizmag. "Food which is unsuitable for human consumption should be separately collected and recycled through anaerobic digestion into green gas and biofertilisers, not wasted in landfill sites or incinerators."

The Brits have led the way in putting food waste to good use — for example, in 2014 grocery giant Sainsbury’s announced its Cannock superstore would run on power generated solely from the supermarket’s own food waste — but Bristolians in particular seem to be ahead of the curve when it comes to using our waste: Researchers from the city’s University of West England have developed, among other things, a urine-powered fuel cell that can generate enough electricity to charge a mobile phone and a pee-powered toilet with potential for helping to light cubicles in international refugee camps.

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