Manchester Bus Runs on Food Waste

Published on: 10 May 2017

A new bus is being trialled in Manchester which runs just on food and water waste.

The double decker bus is the first of its kind in Britain, and will be running the Manchester to Altrincham route.

First Biogas Bus

Biogas BusThe number 263 bus is unique in Britain, as it trials the use of biogas to help reduce wastage and increase the fuel efficiency of public transport.

Arriva North West are running the bus, which was developed over the course of two years by the Swedish commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania. It was designed for the UK market, and is now finally seeing the fruition of those efforts.

The creators say that the bus can reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions by up to 84 per cent, by operating on biogas which is created from household food waste or water waste.

“Arriva is committed to reducing its environmental impacts. Trialling new low-emission technologies to reduce air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions helps us move towards our environmental goals,” said Alastair Nuttall, General Manager at Arriva North West. "The biogas bus is now on trial on our route 263 between Manchester and Altrincham, where customers can experience it first-hand. We will be encouraging feedback and are very much looking forward to our passengers’ comments on this exciting new double decker.”

This means that you could now be travelling to your food job every morning on a mode of transport which is made possible by the food that you and your customers didn’t eat. It’s a very interesting concept and it will hopefully be one that takes off, helping to reduce emissions in the UK and eliminating the problem of food waste by putting it to a secondary use.

Unique Challenge

The bus had to be designed just for the UK because of the fact that we tend to use unusual busses. We may not realise this, having grown up with them around, but for those from Europe it’s an obvious difference.

“Unlike mainland Europe, British bus networks use a high proportion of double deck buses. Across Europe single deck buses with gas tanks on the roof are a common sight, but for the UK we have had to accommodate the tanks within the double deck bodywork itself,” says Mark Oliver, Scania’s UK Bus and Coach Fleet Sales General Manager.

They also had to create a mobile refuelling station which would fuel the bus, to help it stay on the roads with its unique power source. Scania’s infrastructure partner, Roadgas, helped to create this station and set it up in place. If the trial leads to further biogas usage across the UK, then gas filling stations with dispensers can be created across the country. Not only would they be able to fuel the busses, but also other vehicles in the local area which are fuelled by biogas. These would include delivery trucks, refuse collectors, and other municipal vehicles which are making the switch.

Those who are interested in production and manufacturing jobs may see this as a great way to tackle food waste. However, others are a little more doubtful of the idea.

Food Waste The opposing thought is that we should actually be tackling food waste by ensuring that more of it is eaten and less thrown away. This is driven by the great divide between wealthier households where food is thrown away, and poorer households or homeless individuals who may be struggling to get enough to eat. Rather than turning our food into biogas, the critics say, we should be ensuring that it makes its way to those in need.