Gas generated at a sewage works in Avonmouth has been used to power a car. It is believed the modified Volks- wagen Beetle, called the Bio-Bug, is the first vehicle in the UK to run on biogas from sewage sludge.
Waste recycling company GENeco, which operates the works in Kings Weston Lane, decided to create the environmentally-friendly fuel by treating surplus gas.
If the trial proves successful, the company will consider converting some of its fleet of vehicles to run on biogas.
Mohammed Saddiq, the company’s general manager, said methane from sewage was an innovative way of powering vehicles and was already widely used abroad.
He said: “Our site at Avonmouth has been producing biogas for many years, which we use to generate electricity to power the site and export to the National Grid.
“With the surplus gas we had available we wanted to put it to good use in a sustainable and efficient way.
“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.
“If you were to drive the car you wouldn’t know it was powered by biogas as it performs just like any conventional car. It is probably the most sustainable car around.”
With support from the South West Regional Development Agency, GENeco imported specialist equipment to treat gas generated at the treatment works in Avonmouth to power the Beetle in a way that doesn’t affect its performance. The company claims waste flushed down the toilets of just 70 homes in Bristol would be enough to power it for a year, based on an annual mileage of 10,000 miles.
GENeco believes that more gas will be produced at its Avonmouth site when the company embarks on its latest green venture to recycle food waste.
Mr Saddiq said: “It won’t be long before further energy is produced when food waste is recycled at our sewage works. It will mean that both human waste and food waste will be put to good use in a sustainable way.”
The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA) said the launch of the Bio-Bug proved that biomethane from sewage sludge could be used as an alternative fuel for vehicles.
ADBA chairman Lord Rupert Redesdale said: “This is a very exciting and forward-thinking project demonstrating the myriad benefits of anaerobic digestion (AD).
“Biomethane cars could be just as important as electric cars.”