It was named after bees, which collect natural resources and make renewable and nutritious products from it.
On October 17th, a new truck that runs on the food waste it collects from commercial businesses in Bristol, UK has been launched. In fact, it is the first vehicle in the country that combines those two environment-friendly characteristics, offering a cost-effective and more sustainable way for food waste to be collected and recycled. The BioBee is owned by GENeco, Wessec Waterâ€™s renewable energy firm and is operated from the companyâ€™s base in Avonmouth. Charlotte Stamper, project manager at GENeco, said: â€œWe are delighted to be able to offer customers a UK first â€“ collecting their food waste using a vehicle running from their food waste. This clean fuel helps to improve Bristolâ€™s air quality and creates a sustainable circular economy for the clientâ€™s operationsâ€. Bristolâ€™s air quality is indeed in need of improvement, as the city is among the 40 places in the UK that consistently exceeds air quality limits for NO2. The new vehicle runs on clean biomethane, demonstrating a real alternative to diesel RCVs and HGVs, while GENeco has previously launched a range of bio-gas powered vehicles, with the â€˜Bio-Busâ€™ â€“ or â€˜poo busâ€™ that runs on sewage and liquid organic waste being one of them.
â€œBees are renowned for the good work they do for the environment, and their daily routine involves collecting valuable natural resources and then bringing them back to a hive to make renewable and nutritious productsâ€, adds Mrs. Stamper. â€œThe Bio-Bee operates the same way. It runs on biomethane that has been produced by the anaerobic digestion of food waste and sewage from houses in Bristol, Bath and the surrounding area. In turn, its total carbon footprint is around 90% lower than a diesel equivalent and it is quieter than standard diesel models. The Bio-Bee is also intended to be fun and engage youngsters in the topics of food waste, recycling and air quality.â€
The recycling process
The Bio-Bee transports the collected food waste to GENeco's anaerobic digestion plant, where it is first processed to remove any plastic. After undergoing a pasteurization process, the waste is fed into the anaerobic digesters, where micro-organisms break down the waste in the absence of oxygen and produce methane-rich biogas. This biogas is either used to produce electricity or it is converted into enriched biomethane so that it can be injected into the gas grid. At this stage, it can also be used as transport fuel or to supply local homes. The solid by-product of the anaerobic digestion process is used as a nutrient-rich and sustainable biofertiliser for farms.
Jesse Scharf, Green Gas Certification Scheme manager at Renewable Energy Assurance, said: â€œGENeco is playing an important role in the growing UK biomethane industry by continuing to innovate and show that, with creative thinking, we can find solutions to the challenges we face around waste, energy, carbon and air quality.â€
The projectâ€™s potential
According to GENeco, every year each person in the UK throws away enough food to power the Bio-Bee for 25 miles. Another interesting data is that if Bristol recycled all the food waste generated locally in a year, the truck could run every day until the year 3,000, a fact that shows that there are significant feedstocks available for the bio-gas powered vehicles to draw on.