We’ve seen fuel derived from garbage before, and even a race car that ran on chocolate, but now we have an even wilder concept: a Volkswagen Beetle running on methane gas derived from human waste. Yes, you read that correctly.
The modified Volkswagen Beetle, or Bio-Bug, was developed as a side-project by the Wessex Water sewage treatment firm in the UK. As mentioned, the car runs on methane gas generated from human waste and could run for approximately one whole year using the waste of about 70 average homes.
Complete fuel cycle for GENeco Bio-Bug, a VW Beetle powered by methane from human waste
GENeco Bio-Bug, a Volkswagen Beetle powered by methane from human waste
To generate the usable methane gas, gasses collected from the raw human waste needs to undergo a process called “biogas upgrading” where carbon dioxide molecules are separated.
The good news is that the Bio-Bug feels like a regular car when driving. In fact, Wessex Water insists that you wouldn’t be able to tell any performance difference between it and a regular Volkswagen Beetle.
The other benefit of burning gas generated from human waste is that the process is virtually CO2 neutral because the carbon dioxide released was originally captured from the atmosphere only months or years before in the food consumed to create the waste, rather than eons ago when the carbon in fossil fuels was captured.
No word yet if the human waste derived methane gas will ever be produced in commercial quantities.