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article imageBritain's poo-powered bus sets a land-speed record

By James Walker     May 25, 2015 in Technology
The land-speed record for the world's fastest service bus was broken last week by a vehicle powered not by polluting diesel but rather clean and green poo. The feat, set by the "Bus Hound," was achieved in Britain and has since been verified as accurate.
In homage to Bloodhound SSC, the Bus Hound achieved a confirmed record top speed of 76.785mph (123.57kmh) at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire over the weekend. Operated by Reading Buses, the vehicle is identical to that of one which would normally take passengers around Reading's city streets except for a few small modifications.
The most significant is the removal of the speed limiter that would usually prevent the bus from going any faster than 56mph under power. ArsTechnica reports there were also a few minor suspension tweaks to ensure the vehicle could handle going so much quicker than normal.
The speed record was undertaken to prove to a traditionally sceptical public that a cow poo-fuelled bus is viable. Chief engineer John Bickerton told the BBC: "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."
The UK Timing Association confirmed the record of 76.785mph but it has not been recognised as a Guinness World Record. That would require a speed of 150mph, 241km/h. The bus is powered by cow excrement that is made into liquefied biogas by anaerobic respiration and stored in seven tanks inside the roof of the bus, according to the BBC.
The buses itself is a modified Scania with an Alexander Dennis Environ 300 body, a popular choice with urban operators across Europe in its regular Euro 6 diesel form. On its website, Reading Buses explains the choice as being made because as much production as possible can be done in the UK. Once the chassis and engine has been shipped from Scania's Södertälje plant in Sweden, the body is built by Alexander Dennis in Falkirk, Scotland.
ArsTechnica reports that Bus Hound already has a potential competitor though. Another bus in the UK, operated by GENeco, runs off human waste. The inevitable task is to find out whether human or cow poo is the fastest way to power a service bus, with the bar set high at 76.785mph under power.
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