Greater City Providence

Using gas we already own

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This week, several websites have reported that the city of Oslo has announced plans to introduce buses that run on biomethane gas collected from two of the city’s raw sewage treatment facilities.

“Biomethane is a by-product of treated sewage. Microbes break down the raw material and release the gas, which can then be used in slightly modified engines.”

Initially, they plan to convert 80 of the city’s buses to run on the gas. If all goes well, the city plans to then convert the rest of the 400 bus fleet. Additional gas can be produced by household, restaurant, and animal waste.

According to RIPTA’s website, they maintain a fleet of 241 fixed route buses and utilize 2.5 million gallons of fuel per year. Imagine if Rhode Island was able to implement a program like Oslo’s? We have just over half the buses they do, and we certainly have plenty of waste to process.

In Oslo, “The city’s diesel public buses will only require minor modifications to their engines to run on methane, which is stored on tanks on top of the vehicles. The only noticeable difference will be how quietly they drive.”

Something to think about…

Via the Guardian, wired, and inhabitat

Matthew Coolidge

Matthew Coolidge is co-founder of Greater City Providence. In addition to the occasional blog post about cycling, sailing, or urban rant, he works as an Electrical Engineer, often traveling to major cities and ports around the globe, or simply Warwick.


  • Them Norwegians are pretty clever about their poo. I saw something on one of those Discovery Channel/Science Channel-ie kind of stations about them using sewage for the heat… I’ll have to see if I can find it. They were doing something with the natural warmth of sewage, generating electricity… something.

  • OK here it is:

    Large blue machines at the end of a 300-metre long tunnel in a hillside in central Oslo use fridge technology to suck heat from the sewer and transfer it to a network of hot water pipes feeding thousands of radiators and taps around the city.

    So they are using the heat in sewage to transfer that heat to water to provide hot water to homes and businesses.

    “When people have been out to parties there’s a lot of beer going into the sewer,” said Oyvind Nilsen, the project manager for the Oslo plant.

    See, drinking does keep you warm.

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