Britain's first dual fuel bus will cut emissions by half
Wed, 09 Sep 2009
A consortium brought together by low carbon experts at the University of East Anglia has launched the first bus in the UK to run on clean, biomethane gas.
The innovative dual-fuel diesel-biomethane powered bus will reduce pollutant emissions and greenhouse gas emissions by around a half. It is hoped the technology will be rolled out to bus fleets across the country and further afield.
The bus will make its first public showing at LCV 2009, the
The event has been organised by Cenex (Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies) and is expected to attract around 2000 specialists in low carbon technologies from around the world.
The consortium behind the new bus is led by UEA's Low Carbon Innovation Centre (LCIC) and includes leading independent bus operator Anglian Bus, bus manufacturer Optare plc, and engine conversion specialists Hardstaff Group of
The dual-fuel vehicle is a standard Optare Solo single-deck diesel midibus from the Anglian Bus fleet. Originally powered entirely by diesel, the Mercedes-Benz engine has been adapted to run for 60-80 per cent of the time on clean, low-carbon biomethane.
Biomethane is chemically identical to the methane in natural gas but it is made by bacterial action on biowastes. Biomethane is extracted from landfill sites or from biogas produced in purpose-built anaerobic digestion facilities.
Project leader Dr Bruce Tofield, of UEA's Low Carbon Innovation Centre, said: "Dual-fuel use is a very attractive option. The vehicle can still run on diesel, providing flexibility, but most of the time is running on biomethane gas which is a much cleaner and less polluting fuel.
"In particular, the cost of conversion of a diesel bus to dual-fuel use is a small fraction of the cost of a new natural gas bus. Conversion to dual-fuel use is potentially a viable option for most if not all diesel buses in the
Funding for the project came partly from an EU-sponsored Civitas programme in which UEA and Anglian Bus were partners with
LCIC scientists have been monitoring air pollution in
"This conversion shows just how important EU projects can be in helping us learn from what cities elsewhere have done," said Dr Tofield. "Now we are going one step further and showing how existing bus fleets can be economically converted to low-carbon, low-emissions running. The potential for reducing traffic pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from buses and other fleet vehicles in cities in
Benefits of using biomethane as a fuel include:
• A reduction in particulate and NOx emissions levels of around half compared with diesel leading to cleaner air in towns and cities.
• Reduced operating costs on a cost per mile basis
• A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of around half as a result of using methane from landfill sites, food and agricultural waste.
Replacing an entire bus fleet with new vehicles is extremely expensive but the LCIC staff realised that a lower-cost solution was already at hand in the
Working with local bus company Anglian Bus, the LCIC organised for one of Anglian's Optare Solo buses to be converted to dual-fuel use. The fuel tanks have been installed at Optare's
David Pursey, chairman of Anglian Bus, said: "Anglian has always tried to be a leader in environmental matters and worked with UEA to demonstrate the benefits of biodiesel in the Civitas programme. We are really pleased to have the first gas-powered dual-fuel bus in the
Trevor Fletcher, managing director of Hardstaff Group, said: "Hardstaff Group's dual-fuel trucks have covered nearly 40 million kilometres and we are really pleased to be working with UEA's Low Carbon Innovation Centre, with Anglian Bus and with Optare to demonstrate our technology on buses for the first time."
Jim Sumner, CEO of Optare, said: "Improving the environmental performance and fuel efficiency of our products is central to our development strategy as shown by the recent announcement of the