Bath’s Bio-Bus

A Scania single decker powered by sewage and food waste has entered service with Bath Bus Company, an RATP Dev owned operation. Claimed to be the UK’s first bus to be powered by such fuel, the green vehicle is being trialed on the operator’s A4 Bath to Bristol Airport service. Affectionately named the ‘poo-bus’ by the media, the 40-seater runs on gas generated through the treatment of the waste to help improve urban air quality as it produces fewer emissions than traditional diesel engines. According to the company, the bus can travel 300km on a full tank of gas generated at Bristol sewage treatment works, a plant run by GENeco, a subsidiary of Wessex Water. Through a process, known as anaerobic digestion, 17m cubic metres of biomethane is generated a year at the Bristol plant, the equivalent of meeting the power needs of 8,300 homes. A newly built state-of-the-art gas plant injects the gas into the grid. The company installed a gas refuelling plant for the bus.

Engineering Director at Bath Bus Company, Collin Field, said, ‘Up to 10,000 passengers are expected to travel on the A4 service during the 4 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. As part of the RATP Dev UK group, this represents RATP Dev’s involvement in the latest of a number of trials to gain experience of alternative fuels, with sister companies also experimenting with different alternatives. The timing of this trial could not be more appropriate as we approach 2015 when the City of Bristol itself becomes European Green Capital. With so much attention being directed towards improving air quality generally, the public reaction to the appearance of this bus on a service between a World Heritage City and an airport will further focus on the potential for this particular fuel.’

Bristol Airport’s Environmental Manager, Melanie King, said, ‘Sustainability and surface access are key areas of focus for us and we welcome new technologies which could reduce the environmental impact of getting to and from the Airport. With Bristol set to be European Green Capital in 2015, this is one of several exciting initiatives we hope to be involved with over the course of the year.’

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