Nottingham’s NCT buses launches fleet of gas-powered double-deckers

A fleet of double-decker buses powered by biogas created from sewage has been unveiled by Nottingham City Transport.

They will be on the roads around the city in summer 2017 and are designed to give a quieter, smoother ride while emitting 83 per cent less pollution than diesel buses.

The vehicles are powered by biogas – created from gas captured from Nottingham sewage and other waste, which produces methane gas.

Five of the vehicles were put on display in Old Market Square in Nottingham on Friday (May 19).

Nottingham City Transport (NCT), has paid for them with a £4.4 million grant from the Government’s OLEV low emission bus scheme, and £12.4 million of its own money.

In total there will be 53 gas buses – making the fleet one of the largest of its type in the world.

NCT estimates it will save 23,204,856kg of carbon being pumped into the city’s atmosphere over the lifetime of the vehicles, compared with conventional diesel buses.

The investment “marks a significant step change”. according to NCT engineering director Gary Mason.

He said: “We’ve spent an enormous amount of time and effort in researching alternative fuels.

“Biogas offers a long-term sustainable alternative to diesel.

“For this to be recognised and to gain the funding is rewarding for us as a company and exciting for the city as a whole.”

The Scania chassis for each bus was built in Leyland in Lancashire, and body work was done by Alexander Dennis in Scotland.

Nottingham-based company, Roadgas, Colwick, supplied the fuel infrastructure, which includes a refuelling plant at NCT’s Parliament Street Garage.

Road Gas produce bio-gas through anaerobic digestion of food waste, farm waste and sewage – the process of breaking down solid waste and converting it into gas.

The methane emitted from this process is turned into fuel and injected it into the National Gas Grid via a pipe.

The buses will run on several lines across Nottingham.

A second pipe will transport the gas to the new Parliament Street garage, from the grid, and it will be pumped into the buses each night.

Jon Harman, general manager of Road Gas, said: “It is the process by which your solid matter – poo, leaves or whatever happens to be – is broken down and digested, like you do in your stomach, and converted into a gas.

“Take a tree, for example, it is growing and all of its leaves fall off in winter. Those leaves drop down and produce methane. If you collect them up and shove them into a tank, the methane gets captured. That’s what happens.

“You grow something, decompose it and produce methane, transport it down a pipe as methane and compress it so it becomes a gas, diesel-like product.”

Nick McDonald, Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for transport, said the introduction of the fleet will create jobs.

He said: “The funding will have a positive knock-on effect to our local economy and skills base, providing local opportunities to develop ways into employment.

“Bus companies will be offering apprenticeships and work experience connected directly to this new technology.

“This is all enabling Nottingham to become a centre for low-carbon, future-proofed transport, shaping our future as the UK’s greenest transport city.”

Nottinghamshire County Council also secured funding from the scheme and plan to introduce two electric buses on the 510 route to serve Stapleford and Beeston.

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