In the near future, Brits may be transported on trains that run on human waste.
Whilst many may describe the country's rail service as pretty shitty, the engineers behind BioUltra, Ultra Light Rail Partners, aim to replace city trains and trams with biomethane-fueled alternatives to help the environment.
BioUltra has just received government funding to further develop a train that runs on biomethane, a type of biofuel derived from several waste products, including human sewage, 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.
In a statement, Beverley Nielsen, the chair of Ultra Light Rail Partners, said "this really is a vote of confidence in our business which is fully focused on providing lightweight affordable railcar travel as a comfortable, modern, reliable and safe alternative to traveling by car. We want to be able to offer this option to larger towns and smaller cities around the UK so they can realistically take polluting vehicles out of their city and town centers improving quality of life for all."
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.