The dung Beetle: Volkswagen tuned to run on human poo

August 5, 2010 | by | 3 Comments

This Volkswagen Beetle literally goes like sh*t off a shovel after it became Britain’s first vehicle to run reliably on methane gas produced by HUMAN EXCREMENT.

The Bio-Bug has been converted by a team of British engineers to run on biogas, which is produced from human waste at sewage works across the UK.

Excrement flushed down the toilets of just 70 homes is enough to power the pioneering car for 10,000 miles – the equivalent of one average motoring year.

This conversion technology has been used in the past but the Bio-Bug is Britain’s first car to run on methane gas without having its performance hindered.

The vehicle’s improved reliability means that its makers believe it can ‘blow away’ electric cars and pave the way for a green motoring revolution – fuelled by excrement.

Mohammed Saddiq, of sustainable energy firm GENeco, which developed the prototype, today promised that drivers ”won’t know the difference”.

He said: ”Previously the gas hasn’t been clean enough to fuel motor vehicles without it affecting performance.

”However, through using the latest technology our Bio-Bug drives like any conventional car and what’s more it uses sustainable fuel.

”We thought it would be appropriate that the poo-powered car should be the classic VW Beetle Bug because bugs naturally breakdown waste at sewage works to start the treatment process which goes on to produce the energy.

”At the moment we are using waste flushed down the toilets in homes but it won’t be long before the energy will also be generated through the treatment of food waste.

”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.”

The Bio-Bug is a conventional 2-litre VW Beetle convertible, which has been modified to run on both conventional fuel and compressed methane gas.

The car, which has a top speed of 114mph, is started using unleaded petrol but automatically switches to methane when the engine is ”up to temperature”.

If the methane tank runs out the Bio-Bug reverts back to petrol.

Around 18 million cubic metres of biogas is produced from human waste every year at Wessex Water’s sewage treatment works in Avonmouth, Bristol.

The gas is generated through anaerobic digestion – where bugs which are starved of oxygen break down biodegradable material to produce methane.

However, before the gas can be used to power vehicles it must undergo ”biogas upgrading” where carbon dioxide is removed to improve performance.

The Bio-Bug does 5.3 miles per cubic metre of biogas, which means that just one sewage works could power 95,400,000 miles per year saving 19,000 tonnes of CO2.

Lord Rupert Redesdale, chairman of The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association, believes the Bio-Bug could prove to be the future of green motoring.

He said: ”This is a very exciting and forward-thinking project demonstrating the myriad benefits of anaerobic digestion.

”Biomethane cars could be just as important as electric cars, and the water regulator Ofwat should promote the generation of as much biogas as possible through sewage works in the fight against climate change.”

GENeco, which is a sustainable energy company owned by Wessex Water, plans to convert its fleet of vehicles if the Bio-Bug trial proves to be successful.

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Comments (3)

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  1. rbj says:

    So if I can get my septic to break down solids, I could fuel from home and be self sufficient? This is literally gonna save the evironment a ton of crap. About that peculiar exhaust smell…

  2. rbj says:

    So if I can get my septic to break down solids, I could fuel from home and be self sufficient? This is literally gonna save the evironment a ton of crap. About that peculiar exhaust smell…

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