The U.K city of Nottingham, 200 kms north of London, is now home to a new £17m (USD 22m) double-deck bus fleet powered by renewable natural gas (RNG or biomethane). The London-based Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) used the launch of the fleet last week to call for greater government support for low-carbon transport fuels.
NCT’s new fleet will run on biomethane, a low-carbon transport fuel produced by anaerobic digestion (AD), a natural process that breaks down food waste, farm waste, and sewage to create a biogas that can then be upgraded to create a methane-based fuel. The UK AD industry has sufficient capacity today to produce enough biomethane to power over half of the UK’s entire bus fleet, and the use of biomethane for buses and heavy goods vehicles has increased in recent years in response to concerns over the cost of fossil-fuel-based fuels and their negative impact on air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.
Nottingham’s biomethane buses, manufactured by Scania, form the world’s largest biogas double-deck fleet. When on the road, the buses will offer significant emissions reductions, with 3,500 tonnes less CO2, 36 tonnes less NOx and 0.75 fewer tonnes of fine particular matter emitted per annum.
“Scania’s new Bio-Gas buses are a great example of the effectiveness of biomethane as a low-carbon, low-cost transport fuel that can help to reduce the scandalous levels of air pollution we see in towns and cities across the UK, costing thousands of lives each year,” explained ADBA Chief Executive Charlotte Morton.
“Over the short to medium term, biomethane presents the only practical means of decarbonising heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses and non-road mobile machinery. While biomethane has the potential to power every HGV in the country and some pioneers have grasped this opportunity, far more support is needed from government to make it easier for others to follow their example.
“It’s critical that the new Government urgently delivers a robust response to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation consultation that concluded in January. Long-term support for AD is crucial for reducing emissions from the difficult-to-decarbonise transport sector and for improving air quality in our cities and towns. This is an obvious action for the Government to include in its air quality plan to save lives.”
NCT Engineering Director Gary Mason said: “When [biomethane] is used, emissions are 84% lower than their diesel counterparts, thereby making them – from ‘well to wheel’ – the greenest buses on the road. Our biogas buses will be cleaner, quieter, and smoother.