Travelling by bus is already a really green way to travel and Nottingham City Transport has had one of the youngest and most environmentally friendly bus fleets in the country for a long time.
But, with ambitious government targets to reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 and a need to improve air quality locally by 2020, it’s time for us to go even greener!
Working in partnership with Nottingham City Council, Scania, Alexander Dennis and Roadgas, with part funding from OLEV (Office of Low Emission vehicles), we’re running the largest fleet of bio-gas double deck buses in the world!
Launched in 2017, these super environmentally friendly bio-gas buses reduce CO2 emissions by up to 84%* compared to an equivalent brand new diesel double deck bus.
Lower emissions means a cleaner city for all!
What is Bio-Gas?
Bio-gas is produced naturally through anaerobic digestion, using food waste (10 million tonnes of food waste goes to landfill every year**), farm waste and sewage. The methane emitted from the digestion process is captured, treated and turned into fuel.
Anaerobic digestion doesn’t just produce bio-gas! It also produces a nutrient rich low carbon fertiliser, which helps farmers reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
Why are Bio-Gas buses great?
Our brand new bio-gas buses are the greenest buses on the road* and will make a significant reduction to our carbon footprint and improvement to the air quality in Nottingham.
Bio-gas is a much cleaner fuel to produce and use and these buses emit hardly any particulates (soot) or hydrocarbons. Using bio-gas buses generates a CO2 saving of 84% as well as tailpipe emissions that are cleaner than an equivalent Euro 6 double deck bus.
By fuelling our buses with bio-gas, we’re helping reduce the amount of food, farm and sewage waste going to landfill or not being reused, which produces high volumes of methane when left to decompose naturally. As methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, our bio-gas buses will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
How does the Bio-Gas reach an NCT bus?
We’ve worked closely with local company Road Gas to design and build a Gas Station at our Parliament Street Garage.
Our supplier produces the bio-gas through anaerobic digestion and injects it into the national gas grid at the nearest point to production. We draw out an equivalent volume of gas from the nearest national gas grid point to our Parliament Street Garage, where it is compressed and stored until the bus is fuelled up each night.
Unlike diesel deliveries, we don’t need tankers to receive our gas, which also reduces vehicle emissions as part of the supply process.
We’ve future proofed the Gas Station, so we can expand it and that will allow us to introduce more gas buses. Our Gas Station will also be available for third parties to use, helping others go gas powered.
Which Routes are Bio-Gas Routes?
We will have 120 bio-gas double deck buses by the end of 2019 and by working in partnership with Nottingham City Council, they're running on routes which pass through the areas with the poorest air quality in the City:
- Green 6 to West Bridgford and Edwalton
- Green 10 to Wilford Hill and Ruddington
- Brown 17 to City Hospital and Bulwell
- Lilac 24, 25 to Carlton, Westdale Lane and Arnold
- Orange 36 to QMC, Beeston and Chilwell
- Red 44 to Colwick, Netherfield and Gedling
- Sky Blue 45 to Mapperley and Gedling
The arrival of these bio-gas buses has allowed us to remove the oldest diesel buses in the fleet and by the end of 2019, no buses in the fleet will have been built before 2010.
Super Spec Buses
Free Wi-Fi is fitted to all of the bio-gas double deck buses, which also boast:
- USB charging points for keeping your phone battery topped up
- A glass staircase for a brighter interior
- High quality seats for a more comfortable journey
- Quieter engines for a smoother ride
- Audio announcements to help you find your stop
Where are the buses built?
There are two parts to the build. The chassis and engine are assembled in Lancashire (using kits from Scania in Sweden) and then the rest of the bus is built and assembled in Scotland at the Alexander Dennis factory in Falkirk.
Do the buses smell?
No – although the bus is run on gas, you won’t smell any gas from the exhaust or the tanks.
Are gas buses safe?
During the design and manufacturing process, the vehicles undertake rigorous safety testing. Bio-gas is extremely light and if it were to escape or there was a leak, it would safely disperse upwards into the atmosphere without harming the environment or its surroundings.
Are gas buses cheaper to run?
Gas is a slightly cheaper fuel than diesel, but our bio-gas buses cost more to manufacture and the savings on the fuel are being offset against the high cost of the buses and the Gas Station to fuel them.
What can I do to help the environment?
You’re already having a positive impact on the environment by travelling on the bus and these new bio-gas double deck buses emit less NOx than a new car!
Recycling your waste is also a great way to help protect the environment and whilst we can’t take your food waste directly, think about reducing the amount of food you throw away as well as composting too!
Why did NCT chose Bio-Gas?
Bio-Gas isn't the only alternative fuel to diesel, but it is the one which best meets our needs. There currently isn't an electric double deck bus that can do the mileage we need on a single charge and the 'well to wheel' emissions from a Bio-Gas double deck are also lower. Our Engineering Director, Gary Mason explains more in this video: