Methane fuelled bus sets speed world record

A bus powered by Bio Methane Compressed Natural Gas produced from cow manure has set a new world record at 76.785mph, reaching a top speed of 80.78mph.

Millbrook – leading test and engineering solution providers for the public transport sector – recently saw an unusual test take place at its 700 acre proving ground in Bedfordshire.

Although well versed at the testing and development of low carbon vehicles, this is the first time the track has seen a bus wrapped in Friesian cow print speeding round it at more than 80mph (128k/ph).

The bus, which is normally limited to 56mph went straight back into service, picking up intrigued passengers on its usual route, the very next day.

With the UK Timing Association confirming the new record, John Bickerton, chief engineer at Reading Buses explained: “We’re excited to have set a new speed world record in a gas powered bus.

“When looking for locations to hold the record we quickly realised Millbrook was the perfect option. As the UK’s only facility with a two mile circular banked track, which enabled the bus to gather speed consistently and over a long distance – in effect it’s like driving on a never ending straight road – we felt it was the ideal circuit to set the new world record on.

“Millbrook’s extensive work within the industry, including exhaust emissions and fuel consumption testing of conventional and advanced technology hybrid, electric and hydrogen buses, was also a key driver in our decision to partner with them on this project.”

Bickerton said the company wanted to bring to light the viability, power and credibility of buses fuelled by cow poo, “We’ve laid down a challenge for other bus operators to best our record and we had to make it a bit hard for them.

“Most importantly we wanted to get the image of bus transport away from being dirty, smelly, and slow. We’re modern, fast, and at the cutting edge of innovation. It was an impressive sight as it swept by on the track. The aerodynamics aren’t designed for going 80mph.”

Its fuel is made from animal waste which is broken down in a process called anaerobic digestion to produce biogas, which is then liquefied and stored in seven tanks fixed inside the roof of the bus.