Feeds

'Poo-powered' Volkswagen astounds world+dog

Gov-funded Dung Beetle runs on turds of seventy homes

Business security measures using SSL

Updated The UK and green media is alive with reports of a "poo powered" car, dubbed the "Bio-Bug", developed to encourage sustainable motoring. But what's the real story?

The GENeco Bio-Bug CNG fuelled Beetle. Credit: Wessex Water

Plenty of grunt (etc).

"On first hearing of the Bio-Bug, some people will smile, and some people will go ‘yuck’!," comments former Friends of the Earth chief and Labour government eco-maven Jonathan Porritt*.

"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!"

In fact the Bio-Bug is simply a VW Beetle converted to run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), in other words mostly methane stored under pressure. It's more normal in Blighty to run vehicles on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), where the gas has been chilled into liquid form and thus doesn't require a heavy, bulky pressure vessel for storage. LNG is also denser, taking up less room. However CNG is easier to produce as no chilling/liquefaction stage is required. CNG is used to run some fleet vehicles here in Blighty, and in some countries is very popular as it is often a lot cheaper than petrol or diesel.

There isn't normally anything particularly green about running a vehicle on natural gas, which is after all a carbon-based fossil fuel. The difference here is that the CNG used to run the Bio-Bug is produced at Wessex Water's Avonmouth sewage plant.

Avonmouth already runs its "digesters" and other processing machinery using combined-heat-and-power plants running on poo biogas, and indeed generates a surplus of electricity which it sells to the National Grid. But it seems that there is still biogas left over after the plant's own requirements are met, which would otherwise simply be burned off as waste (venting it to atmosphere without burning would be a major eco-crime, as methane is a hugely more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2).

“With the surplus gas we had available we wanted to put it to good use in a sustainable and efficient way," says Mohammed Saddiq, general manager of Wessex Water subsidiary GENeco, which aims to monetise the company's sewage-derived products.

“We decided to power a vehicle on the gas offering a sustainable alternative to using fossil fuels which we so heavily rely on in the UK."

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.