New bio-methane gas bus filling station opens in Bristol: Partner News

02 Jul 2019

Transport

New bio-methane gas bus filling station opens in Bristol

A new permanent biomethane gas filling station for the city’s metrobus fleet of environmentally friendly buses has been opened by West of England Mayor Tim Bowles and Cllr Kye Dudd, Bristol City Council Cabinet member for Energy and Transport.

The new station, at the Bristol Community Transport (BCT) depot in Bedminster will be used to fuel buses on the m1 metrobus route, which is operated by BCT under contract to First West of England. The new station represents a £960,000 investment by First West of England, that has been supported by the Low Emission Bus Fund, from the Government’s Office of Low Emission Vehicles.

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said:

“It’s great to see this new gas bus filling station open, as part of our aim to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and keep people moving. It supports my ambition to improve public transport in the region, giving people more sustainable ways to travel.

“More than 70,000 people now choose to use metrobus every week and a recent passenger survey shows a 19% shift from car to metrobus. We plan to build on that success with more services and better connections as part of our wider objective of getting more people to switch to using public transport across the West of England.”

Cllr Dudd said:

“Last year we declared a climate emergency. As a city we are moving quickly to improve air quality and we will do this in the shortest possible time. Working in partnership with First West of England and Bristol Community Transport on projects like this leads the way in reducing vehicle pollution on our roads.

“On 1 July the council launched a public consultation to find out people’s views on two options to clean up the air in Bristol. These proposals will allow us to meet government air quality improvement targets, making Bristol a healthier place for everyone, as part of a wider series of commitments to a clean air plan.”

The opening of the new station on 1 July, also attended by Bristol Community Transport Chief Executive Dai Powell and First West of England’s Managing Director James Freeman, marks the end of a temporary filling station which had been installed at the Bedminster depot and had been fueling the fleet since it came in to service in January 2019.

James Freeman, Managing Director of First West of England said:

“At First West of England, we’re taking meaningful steps to clean up the city’s air. That’s why we’re making significant investments to bring a fleet of bio-methane gas buses into Bristol, building on the legacy of the famous ‘poo bus’. The metrobus m1 route is paving the way and this new filling station means that bio-methane gas buses will now be a permanent feature in the city. With 77 more bio-methane gas buses and another even bigger filling station coming to Bristol soon, Bristol could soon be the country’s Bio-methane gas bus capital!”

Dai Powell, Chief Executive of HCT Group, the parent organisation of BCT, said:

"We believe in the power of public transport to make a difference, getting people out of their cars, reducing congestion and fossil fuel use. This impact will always be limited if the buses themselves are still contributing to the problem. The launch of this biogas filling station shows that it is practical and economical to make a low-carbon choice, reducing emissions and doing our part in the climate emergency."

A major investment to improve Bristol’s air quality by First West of England will see 77 new, state-of-the-art, bio-methane buses hitting the city’s streets in the coming months.

The biogas that fuels the buses is provided by the Gas Bus Alliance (GBA) and comes from waste food and is supplied from anaerobic digesters across the UK. Bio-methane gas offers a more than 80% reduction in greenhouse gases and a 95% reduction in Nitrogen Oxides compared to older diesel buses and helps to improve air quality. These new buses build on the legacy of the Bristol Poo bus, which was run on the Number 2 route around Bristol while the city held the European Green Capital title in 2015.

The Parson Street Gas Station comprises two gas compressors and storage and has been specifically designed by the GBA to accommodate the requirements of operating Bristol’s metrobus fleet from Parson Street. This is the sixth station built by the GBA and took nine months to complete. Plans for another bio-methane filling station at First West of England’s depot in Lawrence Hill, Bristol are currently at the planning stage.

The opening comes a little over a week after Clean Air Day (20 June) when First West of England announced that it was bringing a further 77 bio-methane gas buses to its fleet in Bristol and at the start of “Catch the bus week” a national campaign organised by the Greener Journeys campaign group to highlight how central the bus is to communities around the country and aims to inspire people to leave the car at home and take the bus to their next destination.

Why choose a gas bus?
Battery electric buses have zero tailpipe emissions so will improve local air quality, but the greenhouse gas emissions for their creation and charging result in the entire process of energy flow, from the mining of the energy source to a vehicle being driven being 19% higher than a biomethane gas bus, which uses a renewable, sustainable fuel. Gas buses also have an equivalent range (250 miles) to diesel buses, which means they can stay on the road for longer.