A Volkswagen Beetle powered by gas from sewage has taken to the road for the first time in Britain.
The Bio-Bug was launched on Thursday by Wessex Water, which is generating methane from human waste at a sewage treatment works near Bristol.
The company claims the prototype is able to cover 10,000 miles annually on the waste from 70 households.
If the trial proves successful, Volkswagen will consider converting some of its fleet of vehicles to run on biogas.
Mohammed Saddiq, of GENeco, a Wessex Water subsidiary which runs the biogas plant at Avonmouth, said: “Our site 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.”
The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association said the launch of the Bio-Bug proved that biomethane from sewage sludge could be used as an alternative fuel for vehicles.
Lord Rupert Redesdale, the association’s chairman, said: “This is a very exciting and forward-thinking project demonstrating the myriad benefits of anaerobic digestion (releasing energy from waste). Biomethane cars could be just as important as electric cars.”
Last month Volkswagen announced plans to conquer the green market with a new generation of hybrid and electric cars.
By Ben Leach
Published: 11:16AM BST 05 Aug 2010
Source: The Telegraph