In the near future, people in the UK may be transported on trains that run on human waste. Yes, you read that right.
Last month, Ultra Light Rail Partners received £60,000 ($81,540) from the government’s Sustainable Innovation Fund to further develop a train that runs on biomethane, a type of biofuel derived from several waste products, including sewage sludge, food waste, and animal manure. To make the fuel, these waste products are fed to bacteria that break them down to produce a gas that can be used as a cleaner alternative fuel.
The process of burning biomethane does release carbon into the atmosphere, but proponents argue it would be released anyway by natural processes. Rather than burning fossil fuels, biomethane simply gives waste products a new life as a fuel source.
Looking towards the future, The Independent reports that ULR is developing a railcar that could replace city trams and will be capable of carrying 120 passengers, with an added focus on Covid-19 safety. More specifically, the new railcar will reportedly feature ultraviolet lights and heavily filtered airflow.
Image source: ULR