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Oslo Buses to Run on Sewage 68

Mike writes "Rather than let their sewage go to waste, the city of Oslo recently announced that it plans to cut carbon emissions by converting 80 public buses to run on biomethane generated from raw sewage. The city plans to adapt two sewage plans with the technology this September, and the new biogas buses will be quieter and will cut 44 tones of C02 per bus per year."


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Oslo Buses to Run on Sewage

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  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @02:53AM (#26734315) Homepage Journal

    I mean, if you're going to claim that something runs on X because you put Y into it and you get Y from X, then you might as well extend it back as far as possible.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 05, 2009 @02:57AM (#26734327)

    ... and put the toilet right on the bus!

    • Fart'n'Go? Or rather Bring'yer-own-kind-of-rebate?
    • by ardor ( 673957 )

      Upon entering the bus, passengers have two options: pay for a ticket, or start eating beans and provide fuel for the vehicle. Don't forget to lift the lid, sir, we don't want to make a mess, do we?

  • Original link (Score:5, Informative)

    by RockMFR ( 1022315 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:09AM (#26734371)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/jan/27/biomethane-energy [guardian.co.uk]

    For now on, every time a Slashdot editor posts a link that isn't the original source of the story, I'll be posting the original link.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      For now on, every time a Slashdot editor posts a link that isn't the original source of the story, I'll be posting the original link.

      Bless you my son.

    • by SupremoMan ( 912191 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @04:24AM (#26734671)

      For now on, every time a Slashdot editor posts a link that isn't the original source of the story, I'll be posting the original link.

      Good for us that Slashdot does not have a post count. Otherwise you would initiate integer overflow in no time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ag0ny ( 59629 )

      For now on, every time a Slashdot editor posts a link that isn't the original source of the story, I'll be posting the original link.

      So are you quitting your job in order to focus on this full-time?

      Thanks for your sacrifice!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Hognoxious ( 631665 )
        Perhaps his job quit him? There's a lot of it about.
        • How do you know he's from Russia?

          • He told an old Korean, the old Korean told a robot, and you know how information wants to be free - it didn't even need a UK civil servant to leave a disk on a train, though I'm sure one did at some point.
    • Hmmm, "Original Link", someone will get that a username in 10, 9, 8,...
    • I heard a sound like a thousand slashdot editors crying "fr33 st00f pl0x", and then were suddenly silenced.

      Who's going to give them freebies for promoting their latest crap as news stories now ? I suppose they can all just go and live in your basement eh ?

      That's the trouble with do-gooders, they never think things through ... shakes head.

  • by pitterpatter ( 1397479 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:19AM (#26734403) Journal

    "the new biogas buses will be quieter and will cut 44 tones of C02 per bus per year."

  • Good! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by haeger ( 85819 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:28AM (#26734443)

    I just can't get why this isn't used more than it is. I don't understand why we need to base the whole worlds economy on a few countries in the middle east with a democratic defecit.

    Ethanol isn't bad but it does use land that could be used to produce food to grow fuel instead, which seems like a bit of a waste to me. Also the environmental benefits are questionable, I still believe this is better than oil, just not by much.

    But methane is something that we all produce. Humans and animals alike. And methane is a very potent greenhouse gas so setting it on fire is actually a net gain for the environment (according to some), and it can be produced locally.

    So it should be used more. It has a lot of benefits and very few drawbacks. Now if we could only get cars that would run on it properly and not those petrol-converted-dont-really-want-to-run-on-biomethane-but-will-do-so-for-20km-on-a-full-tank kind of cars.

    • Waste won't give us enough methane to replace oil, but we can make methane directly from water, sunlight and CO2 so maybe that will be done in the long term.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sumdumass ( 711423 )

      $$$$$$ is why.

      It costs more money to harvest it and make it usable. Plus storage and transportation bugs have been worked out of the petroleum industry.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by KnightNavro ( 585943 )
        Transportation is the usual methane capture project killer. Landfills and wastewater treatment plants are typically located away from densely populated regions, for reasons apparent to anybody who's ever been downwind of one. As such, there typically isn't as well developed as it would have to be to make a project work.

        There are, of course, exceptions. Puente Hills Landfill in LA can generate 50MW. A more typical landfill can generate only a fraction of that.

      • by Error27 ( 100234 )

        From the guardian article, they're projecting that biogas will be cheaper.

        "What's more, aside from the intial set-up costs, we expect to see an average saving of 0.40 per litre of fuel (based on an average diesel price of 0.67 per litre compared with biomethane at 0.27 per litre)".

        Of course, 200 buses is quite a small scale operation, but it's still very cool.

        • Yea it's pretty cool but I think the scale is where the costs come into play. Also, you have to keep in minds some things about estimates -they are often optimistic in order to justify their goals.

          At one time, it was estimated that Ethanol would be cheaper then gasoline until the practical reality of it set in and they applied the same taxes to it. Currently, gasoline in the US is almost cheaper then ethanol in raw numbers compared at the pump. This means that when you take into account the differences in f

      • Petroleum has to be harvested from the ground in viable locations and then transported (sometimes long distances) to the end-user

        Methane-related gas, however, is produced pretty much everywhere, and is pretty damn local.

        While it might not be solved by a "porta-pottie at the bus-stop", it's not that far-off to think that individual cities could have a waste reprocessing plant locally, cutting out a lot of the transportation costs. At that point the main cost is the plant, but hopefully one that would pay for

    • Ironically, Norway is a large exporter of oil (about 20% of GDP is oil/gas export). So while this token programme should be applauded, perhaps they could look at reducing how they help choking the rest of the world too?
  • Not really new tech. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Thursday February 05, 2009 @03:32AM (#26734465) Homepage

    Gas-driven (not gasoline) buses has been around for at least a decade. It's just that they use a different type of gas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Gas-driven (not gasoline) buses has been around for at least a decade. It's just that they use a different type of gas.

      Do you mean to say that methane driven buses haven't bee used up to now? I know for a fact they are used in Sydney and Melbourne though the CH4 comes out of the ground.

  • by Genda ( 560240 ) <mariet@@@got...net> on Thursday February 05, 2009 @07:41AM (#26735417) Journal

    American television has been running on crap since the late 50s.

  • Exciting times. In my opinion electrical motor is the way to go though. The problem is the potential energy around us is not available as electrical power by itself, the latter needs to be produced and also stored. Which is where photovoltaics come in - given that Earth is radiated with about 50 - 250 watts of energy per square meter of land, our sun will give us all the power for electricity we need, even with our suboptimal solar panels of today. There is also hydrogen, the most abundand stuff in the Univ

  • If this is possible, then why was petrol such an issue in (the rather disappointing) Beyond Thunderdome?
  • by zaunuz ( 624853 )

    .......just when i thought Oslo couldn't become a shittier place to live (i'm half serious, hate that placE)

  • Both the technology to use sewage for bio-methane and methane burning cars are not new.

    The bio-methane production is called anaerobic digestion, check wikipedia for more info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_digestion [wikipedia.org]

    Although I applaud every initiative, this is not news.

  • ... I wonder how much methane I could collect from my septic tank?

  • Man, and I thought it sucked to be stuck behind a bus before! Who could have predicted that all those experiments my Norwegian friends did with lighting farts when they were younger would actually lead to a viable energy source?
  • And I thought the bus system here in Fresno was shitty.
  • The net emissions from a biomethane operated bus are zero, because the carbon originally came from the atmosphere rather than fossil fuels, but electricity is used at the sewage plant to convert the gas from the waste into fuel for the buses. Oslo city council is taking the electricity used to generate the fuel into consideration and calculate that carbon emissions per bus are 18 tonnes per year, a saving of 44 tonnes of C02 per bus per year.

    Why not generate electricity from the Biogas? If it's so easy to modify a diesel engine to use the gas, couldn't they just use an ordinary diesel generator?

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake