The Green Solution: Buses to soon run on human waste

05 Jan 2017 | By Ramya Patelkhana

India's first bus run on human and animal waste is set to make debut in Kolkata in March 2017.

A nominal fare of Rs.1 would be charged for ferrying passengers on the 17.5km-long Ultadanga-Garia route, irrespective of the distance covered.

Twelve biogas buses would run on 12 routes, including Ultadanga-Tollygunge and Ultadanga-Sector V (Salt Lake).

The other nine routes are yet to be finalized.

In context: Biogas buses in India

IntroductionWhat is biogas?

A mixture of gases produced by the breakdown of organic substances in the absence of oxygen is 'biogas'.

It is produced from raw materials like animal and plant waste and principally consists of methane.

It is non-toxic, colorless and flammable and can be used as fuel, for generating electricity, and in cooking.

It is a renewable energy source and usually exerts a small carbon-footprint.

05 Jan 2017The Green Solution: Buses to soon run on human waste

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The CentreCentre intends to promote the use of biogas

The Centre intends to promote the use of the cheap and eco-friendly biogas as it has the potential to become fossil fuels' alternative in some segments.

New & Renewable Energy Ministry selected Phoenix India Research and Development for starting the use of biogas vehicles in Bengal.

The Centre selected a company in each state to launch the use of biogas in the states.

Phoenix Chairman Jyoti Prakash Das's statement

"The lowest bus fare from Ultadanga to Garia is Rs.12, but we will bring it down to Rs.1. We can offer it and still have a margin. All other parameters of performance such as vehicle speed will be the same as normal buses."

KolkataBuses can travel 20km on a kg of fuel

The biogas buses to run in Kolkata can travel 20km on a kg of fuel that costs only Rs.30, explaining the extremely low fares.

The capacity of their fuel tanks is 80kg; so the buses can run 1,600km on a full tank.

The buses, now being built in Delhi, would be 60-seater non-AC vehicles.

Tata Motors chassis are being used for the buses.

The Union Ministry notification

Das said: "The union ministry notification states that commercial vehicles - those are more than 15-year old and are already banned - can continue to ply on roads if the owners switch the diesel engines of the vehicles to bio-fuel engines."
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Bigger ScaleCentre plans to introduce biogas on a bigger scale

The Centre plans to introduce biogas on a bigger scale.

Phoenix's biogas plant in Bubrajpur can produce 1,000kg gas that can be transported to Kolkata by tankers.

Phoenix is permitted to set up 100 fuel pumps, the first of which would start at Ultadanga.

Phoenix Chairman & Managing Director, Jyoti Prakash Das, has been working on biogas technology for over eight years now.

Biogas buses can't be fitted with AC machines

Das stated: "All the 12 new biogas buses we are manufacturing can run on roads forever. If a commercial vehicle switches over to biogas, it will also be exempted from the ceiling." However, the buses, costing Rs.13 lakh each, can't be fitted with AC machines.