The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Finally, a car that runs on something we’ll never run out of

You might almost call the prototype a Dung Beetle:

A car that runs on methane gas produced by human waste has been launched and its makers claim drivers cannot tell the difference.

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


They believe the car is a viable alternative to electric vehicles.

Excrement flushed down the lavatories of just 70 homes is enough to power the 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 its performance being reduced.

It can power a conventional two litre VW Beetle convertible to 114mph.

Mohammed Saddiq, of sustainable energy firm GENeco, which developed the prototype, claimed 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.

“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.

Read on.

Comments read comments(7)
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posted August 8, 2010 at 7:11 am

And this technology won’t be accepted in the U.S., as the govt. will back the systems that will create the most revenue, all things considered. I wonder about the exhaust/emissions of this fuel.

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posted August 8, 2010 at 8:26 am

I’d have to say the exhaust emissions would be a little pungent ….lol

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Paul Stokell

posted August 8, 2010 at 8:58 am

(smack) White one! Two for a convertible!!

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Mike L

posted August 8, 2010 at 11:42 am

Since a methane molecule consists of one carbon and four hydrogen atoms the exhaust would be water and carbon dioxide, just like with gasoline, although probably the ratio of carbon dioxide to water would be less. Sounds environmentally friendly to me.

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posted August 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

70 homes for 10k miles is not impressive. Depending how you count, some consider 12-15k to be more appropriate for 1 year.
Second, that means – without resorting to natural gas (methane, largely!), which is a fossil fuel, only 1 home in 70 could use this car without extra environmental impact. If you adjust miles as mentioned above, it becomes 1 home in 100.
So 1% of cars can be replaced by dung-beetles, big deal. Can’t replace electrics as alternative to fossil fuels at all.
Honestly, I was hoping the misleading title was about a SOLAR-powered vehicle that can store enough energy for evening driving.

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posted August 8, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Thanks, but I think I will wait for the Honda Clarity and it’s ability to use hydrogen to get popular.

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posted August 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm

The biggest problem with hydrogen is that, effectively, it is not an energy source, it is an energy storage medium. There are no abundant or even remotely abundant sources of hydrogen on Earth. So where does the hydrogen come from? Either you get it from stripping the carbon off of hydrocarbons (like natural gas or methane) or splitting water molecules using energy. So, for the first you are using fossil fuels (mostly) as the raw material and for the second, you are using fossil fuels (mostly) to produce the energy needed to split off the hydrogen.
So, hydrogen is, essentially, a battery. And just like all batteries, the process of charging introduces an inefficiency. So, without abundant, non-fossil-fuel derived hydrogen available, hydrogen cars just makes us more dependent on fossil fuels.

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