Waste not, want not: 8 surprising uses for your poo. Source: Science Focus, Jan. 29, 2016.
Each day, we could be flushing millions of pounds in poop down our collective loos. Zoe Cormier examines eight ways the world can harness human waste.
Methane is a simple product that can be created from human faeces. The main ingredient in the natural gas that is tapped from the ground before running throughout the national grid, methane heats our homes and cooks our food.
But it can also be produced in anaerobic digesters, in which microbes degrade food scraps and other organic material in the absence of oxygen. Methane can even be made straight from sewage.
To prove that ‘not everything we flush goes to waste’, the FirstGroup transport company is running the first bus in the UK powered by poo. The Bio-Bus – launched in March 2015 – uses biomethane provided from the GENeco waste recycling and renewable energy facility in Avonmouth. The 41-seater bus runs along the aptly named number 2 route that links Cribbs Causeway in north Bristol to the south of the city.
The innovative vehicle can run for up to 300 kilometres on one tank (the equivalent of five people’s annual flushes). If successful, and if riders approve of travelling on human emissions, the company hopes to roll out even more ‘poo buses’.
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