First West of England have proudly launched their first double-decker biogas bus, in an effort to make Bristol’s public transport more eco-friendly.
This comes two years on from Bristol’s ‘poo bus’: a 40-seat bus powered entirely by sewage. Following a successful trial, along with electric buses forming a green fleet, First have now taken the step to launch a double-decker version.
Not only will the new bus seat far more people, but it also runs on food and farm waste, as well as sewage. Unsold food items from supermarkets, as well as the contents of household food waste bins, are processed to produce biomethane and are used to power the vehicle entirely.
First West of England managing director James Freeman described the bus as “a step forward for the city” and “an emancipation from what we started with the poo bus”.
The biogas bus produces up to 84 per cent less carbon dioxide than the equivalent new Euro 5 diesel double-decker, and also less vibration, giving a smoother ride, too.
“We need to do something radical, and start tackling our very real air pollution crisis,” said Mhairi Threlfall, the city council cabinet member for transport. “This biogas bus could well be part of the radical change that is undoubtedly needed.” According to scientists, global carbon dioxide concentrations have reached a new monthly record of more than 400 parts per million.
Bristol is not the first city to pioneer this innovation; bio-buses of this kind are already in use in places including Nottingham and Reading.
But what exactly about the biogas bus makes its creators so confident that it will succeed? “It’s a practical proposition,” said Freeman, “it’s doable in today’s world.” And the numbers are on his side, too. The bio-gas bus is reported to have cost around £295,000 to manufacture; in comparison, Bristol’s electric buses cost approximately £675,000.
With the government having announced their aims of an 80 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, this could be just the thing we need.