Think your car runs like crap? A sewage utility in Bristol, UK, has converted a Volkswagen Beetle to run on human waste. The Bio-Bug is the first car in the UK to run on byproducts of sewage processing, and if its trial run is successful Wessex Water, the utility company that made the car, might build a whole fleet of them.
Wessex's Avonmouth sewage treatment plant was already producing methane gas, which it refined from the waste treatment process and used to power the facility. But there was surplus gas available and the company didn't like to see it going to waste. So they decided to build a sustainable car.
Doing so wasn't necessarily easy or cheap -- GENeco (a subsidiary of Wessex) had to import special equipment, to refine the biogas to an extent that it didn't adversely affect the car's performance. But Bio-Bug is now running efficiently enough that just 70 local homes can power it for a year, assuming an annual mileage of roughly 10,000 per year.
Sewage-to-methane conversion is just the first step of GENeco's eco-ambitious agenda. The company soon plans to begin recycling food waste at their plant -- perhaps a smart move since recent studies have suggested Americans alone discard more energy in food waste than is produced by all of the oil and gas reserves laying off American shores. More waste means more bio-methane means more cars can run on the stuff which, by the way, does not smell foul when it's burned in the car's engine.
It's not a permanent fix for the world's oil dependency problems obviously, but it is a good way for a public utility to run an energy neutral operation while reducing its own fleet's need for gasoline, reducing both carbon emissions and costs to the public at the same time.
I heard that methane can be very corrosive when used in a Internal combustion engine. I wonder if they clean it somehow.
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so, it's a stink-bug?
I call it the "DUNG BEETLE"
I think the natural Driving is only a <a href="http://tretwerk.net" target="_blank">Mountainbike</a>
They need some time to make the cars better.
Wouldn't it be more efficient for them to use the bio gas to help power their internal machinery rather than to transport the fuel elsewhere to power a bunch of small motors?
I'd say they should just reduce their load on the grid leaving more capacity for 'us' to charge 'our' electric cars off of the grid...
@rosen380 read the second paragraph. They are using the methane they produce at the plant to power it. They had excess, that they didn't want to waste, so they built a car that can run on the excess they have.
So, they are already producing enough methane to 100% power their plant? Without doing anything more [like investing 100s of thousands or millions into a prototype car] they could have used the excess methane gas to create electricity to be sold back to the grid. Tack on that IF they built a successful car and were selling methane they either need to spend $$$ to truck it to fueling stations.
If selling energy back to the grid isn't worth as much as the value in physically using methane to power vehicles, why not methane powered forklifts, backhoes and work vehicles instead? For internal use, they just need some kind of on-site fueling setup.
- It runs on EWW 85.
- Drivers' side toilet seat (standard) allows driving non-stop from Texas to Florida without the need for a diaper.
- You can go farther with friends helping with the driving.
- You can pass-gas stations and rest stops.
The Poop Coupe!
- When sales for this car are in the toilet, that is a good thing.
- In the winter, you put sHeet in the tank.
- Gives new meaning to the phrase oft asked of the customer by the station attendant "do you have gas?".
- Best not to drive on an empty stomach; you may run out of gas so to speak.
- Other potential car makes/models: Ford Fecesta, Dodge Asgen.
- This technology could be adapted to a kid sized vehicle i.e., a Go Fart.
methane has been used for years in forklifts, cars, trucks and busses. with no problems. its even been used to heat houses and cook food and grill out. the network to transport it is all ready in place. nasa also uses methane to make hydrogen, its cheaper to use than water.
So it's time to stop investing in the oil companies and start investing in the sewage plants. I can see the talk show skits having fun with this one.
- "Refueling Receptacle" located in rear
- Remove seat cover to expose the "Power Throne"
I can't wait to see what the next 10 years of technology will bring to the automotive industry.
Right, so this company is already powering their plant 100% with leftovers using their “byproducts of sewage processing.” They've obviously NOT spent hordes of money to develop a new automobile but rather they have simply adjusted an existing platform and engine to run on their "fuel."
Nowhere in this article was it mentioned that the company had decided to sell its own line of automobiles to the public. It seems that they are simply using this technology for their own service and transport automobiles. Nifty and a good idea in my opinion, but I’d not have a problem if they decided to fling the stuff at each other while singing the national anthem.
Basically this, it’s their byproduct, and they are using it the way they wish, in this case to their own benefit. You like the idea of taking your leavings and turning it into power to sell back to the power grid then why don’t you figure out how to do that yourself and get off the back of others. You complain and gripe and you ultimately do nothing of value, for yourself or others.
Oh and one more thing, it’s your business if you want to drive an electric scooter around the country side, but other folks may just like the feel and sound of a decent engine under the bonnet so how about everyone drives what they like, and if they want to give a crap about the environment, allow them to go ahead and use that for fuel as well.
I'm no methane expert, but if it can run an engine, it can run a generator, thus creating electricity. Once you have more electricity than you're using, what is the process to send that back to the grid?