EIO - BioBug
GENeco have developed the UK’s first domestic hybrid petrol vehicle that does not rely on fossil fuels or food substitute crops, but relies on something that is truly sustainable and renewable: biogas from sewage effluent and food waste.
A successful trial will reduce GENeco’s reliance on fossil fuels and paves the way for other companies to do the same.
With ‘peak oil’ and rising fuel prices, the need for vehicles that run on alternative fuels is becoming more apparent. Car companies have reacted to reduce reliance on fossil fuels while hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius are gaining popularity. However the need for alternative fuels will always be a priority due to the limited range of these vehicles for the foreseeable future.
The UK’s first “people-powered” Bio-Bug Volkswagen Beetle has been developed and driven, in what has been hailed as a breakthrough in the drive to encourage sustainable transport. The car is also being used with local schools to teach students about sustainability and has stimulated worldwide interest with International press coverage. This included an appearance in the popular Top Gear magazine as well as being driven by Gregory Barker MP, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change.
GENeco imported specialist equipment to purify and concentrate the biomethane, and the vehicle’s gas conversion was performed by a specialist UK company from Bristol. The Bio-Bug runs on methane gas generated from sewage. The annual waste flushed down the toilets of just 70 households in Bristol is enough to power the Bio-Bug for 10,000 miles. The Bio-Bug does 5.3 miles per cubic metre of biogas, which means that one sewage works could produce enough fuel to drive 95,400,000 miles per year, saving 19,000 tonnes of CO2!
The results of this trial are expected to confirm that biomethane can be safelyused to provide a greener fuel alternative for petrol vehicles. When complete, GENeco will be looking to use this innovative fuel to power their company vehicles and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.
Barriers and Drivers
"On first hearing of the Bio-Bug, some people will smile, and some people will go ‘yuck’! Either way, what I hope they realise is that this is exactly the kind of innovation we now need for a more sustainable world – and those directly involved should be proud they’re making a small but significant contribution to it everyday!"
Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future.
In Sweden, more than 11,500 vehicles already run on biomethane produced from sewage plants.
How using biogas from sewage sludge is yet to take off in the UK despite a significant amount being produced everyday at sewage plants around the country.
Waste flushed down the toilets of just 70 UK homes is enough to power the Bio-Bug for a year, based on an annual mileage of 10,000 miles. The Bio-Bug does 5.3 miles per cubic metre of biogas, which means that one sewage works could produce enough fuel to drive 95,400,000 miles per year, saving 19,000 tonnes of CO2.