Wessex Water is powered it's new 40-passenger bus with food, human waste.
Across the pond, Wessex Water is primarily focused on water supply, and sewage treatment services. Now they're taking that waste expertise and applying it to the public transportation grid.
The Bio Bus is a new 40-passenger bus built by Wessex underling GENeco. The bus runs solely on bio-methane gas -- a compound made, in this case, exclusively from food waste and human waste. Using bio-methane as an energy source isn't by any means a new idea, as Wessex and GENeco have been using it to power and heat homes in the UK (about 8,500 homes on average, in fact). But using it to power a vehicle is a new venture that could push waste recycling to new highs.
Once its tank is topped off, the Bio Bus can travel 186 miles before needing another stop at the ol' methane gas station. Wessex says the bus will be servicing the A4 route between the Bristol airport, and downtown Bath.
So how does your garbage and crap end up powering a bus? Through a process called anaerobic digestion. The short version: in an environment where oxygen is lacking, microorganisms feed on biodegradable material, break it down, and convert the energy into methane gas. This gas is then purified, and used to power engines, or it's fed into your local natural has grid.
While the process isn't wholly new, it does represent a "next frontier" of sorts when it comes to recycling and renewable energy (renewable in the sense that we will always eat and poop). We've already mastered recycled plastic, paper, metal, and other categories, so hopefully food waste, and whatever you're leaving in the bathroom after you're done reading the paper in the morning, can be recycled as well.