Friday Funny: New car is the "poop de grâce"

Well, at least you don’t have to shovel it in…but I wonder…what sort of “new car smell” does this car have when it is fresh from the factory?

Get the poop on this story here. I foresee a future episode of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe.

And, if this is the license plate of a Prius owner (which I spotted on I-5 in California)…

…what sort of vanity license plate would an owner of a car like this new Bio Bug have?

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Henry chance
August 6, 2010 3:04 pm

Shovel ready jobs.

August 6, 2010 3:11 pm

“Its makers claim drivers cannot tell the difference.”
Methane is methane. People should really get a minimum of chemistry education. It has nothing to do with the car but more about where the methane comes from… just a publicity stunt…. a stinking that is!

August 6, 2010 3:11 pm

Those Prius owners are going to feel like ‘suckers’ when they have to pony up for new batteries.

August 6, 2010 3:13 pm

And… let’s see… every million urban inhabitants generate enough “waste” to create methane for what, 5 cars? 50?

August 6, 2010 3:13 pm

Fantastic! I drive little so where can I sell it ??

chris y
August 6, 2010 3:14 pm

Its a dung beetle.

August 6, 2010 3:15 pm

It’s the stuff they put in the water that worries me 😉

James Sexton
August 6, 2010 3:16 pm

Henry chance says:
August 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm
Shovel ready jobs.
HAHAHA!!! When I read that the first thing I said was “Oh sh*t..”!…..hahaha
Seriously though, 1 car per 70 households. Nice. What a wonderful utilization of time, money, effort…ect. There are too many puns and jokes out there to start. “I was in the auto industry, but business went to …….”

August 6, 2010 3:19 pm

A VW Beetle ??!! It’s a dung beetle.

August 6, 2010 3:25 pm

Well that’s just great, what are the other 69 homes supposed to do?
car pool?

Michael Jankowski
August 6, 2010 3:27 pm

Shouldn’t Mr. Fusion from “Back to the Future” be pretty standard by now? Emmett Brown had one in 2015.
Absolutely nothing wrong with putting our waste to use. But it gives a whole new meaning to, “My car is a piece of ___!”

August 6, 2010 3:32 pm

It really says something about electric vehicles that they can’t really outperform a car whose fuel is sewage gas. They’re hardly worth a poop.

Steve in SC
August 6, 2010 3:36 pm

BMW’s entire paint shop is powered by the stuff.
By the time you use it it is just LNG.
Scrubbing is done at the sewage treatment plant.
This is not new.

August 6, 2010 3:37 pm

Will they make the fuel filler holes bigger. The current small ones will be a challenge.

August 6, 2010 3:43 pm

Didn’t Adam Sandler have a song about that car? “Piece of s…. car. I’ve got a piece of s…. car.”

Leon Brozyna
August 6, 2010 3:46 pm

One bio-bug for every 70 homes? Not much in the way of economies of scale. The rest of you can ride your bikes to save the planet. Wait — didn’t they used to excel in this activity a generation ago in China? I wonder how that worked out …

Stephen Brown
August 6, 2010 3:54 pm

Thirty years ago we were rearing day-old chicks under methane-burning brooders powered by gas from digesting pig manure. Worked a treat; stank like the Devil!
The digested manure was good for immediate spreading without fear of ‘burning’ emerging crops with too strong a fertilizer.
Ahh! I can smell it now. Or was that a VW?

Sean Peake
August 6, 2010 3:57 pm

Geez, no h/t for this?
Perhaps this vehicle can also burn the other large source of human waste–the IPCC reports.
REPLY: Oh gosh, I’m sorry, but I saw it elsewhere, poop travels fast. -A

Pamela Gray
August 6, 2010 4:03 pm

I like this. It recycles everything. It re-emits CO2 and is a great way to recycle cow farts, so it is a carbon neutral solution. We eat carbon based stuff (CO2 absorbing plants and animals that ate plants) and poop it out, which is used to make methane, which we put in our cars, thus the exhaust, which includes CO2, is putting back what we took out when filling up with methane. Kinda like being in a time warp. Is there a recipe for it (like there is for veggy diesel)?

August 6, 2010 4:09 pm

Has a weird exhaust note. Sort of a pooppooppoop sound.

August 6, 2010 4:21 pm

RE: The Prius picture, look at the oncoming traffic.
Now, no passenger vehicle can win against a truck, but I want to drive a vehicle that gives me a chance against the (dreaded) SUV.
So, that’s what I drive. Always will.

August 6, 2010 4:25 pm

Two points:
This would never have happened without a generous government subsidy – it wasn’t worth the effort upgrading their equipment to produce the purified compressed methane gas without free money (which means it’s not worth the tax-payers money either)
They already had equipment using the sewer gas to power the sewage plant. They could simply have sold their excess electricity to the grid, but that doesn’t have nearly the same impact as saying they’re running a car on sh*t. “Sewage plant carries on doing what it’s done for the last 30 years.” Not really headline material…
In short it’s a vanity project, a bit of attention seeking, and a way to get their plant upgraded at the expense of us taxpaying plebs.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
August 6, 2010 4:27 pm

Friday Not-So-Funny. Just watched an ABC World News hit piece on GLOBAL WARMING!!!! They made sure to hit all the high points, graphs from NASA (actually GISS), record heat waves, record droughts, 2010 hottest year on record, from climate scientists: “We predicted these extreme weather events all along, and here they are!”
Climate Change Deniers! As directly said by the (so-called) reporter!
Oh well, should have expected it. Cap (wealth creation) and Trade (away hope of recovery) looks dead. The BP leak is resolving nicely, as speculated here the mess was practically self-cleaning between evaporation and the Gulf’s own microbes eating nearly all of the remaining oil, and BP CEO Hayward, who was essentially fired by Obama, was proven correct in asserting the spill and the dispersants would not be a great issue given the sheer volume of water in the gulf, and the fishermen are going back to work.
And the MSM is desperately avoiding talking about Michelle Obama’s ‘little getaway with friends’ in Spain where her and associates are living it up like royalty (which real royalty doesn’t even do anymore) courtesy of the American taxpayers.
Guess all that indignant liberal outrage has to be directed somewhere… Guess it’s time to invest in some coveralls and a full face shield in case that “outrage” splatters in my direction…

August 6, 2010 4:29 pm

I just drove by about a thousand power windmills in Texas. Only a small portion were turning. They were pointing in slightly different directions. Don’t know if they swivel, but all-in-all it looks like a huge waste of scenery as well as money.

Jimmy Haigh
August 6, 2010 4:39 pm

I’m sure there’s a Schmidt joke in here somewhere…

August 6, 2010 4:47 pm

Now that puppy is a prime candidate for emissions standards.
Comes complete with a pack of matches.

August 6, 2010 4:51 pm

Waste not, want not.

R. de Haan
August 6, 2010 4:54 pm

It’s every squire’s dream come true.
Provides them with the opportunity to publicly talk shit instead of the usual wining about the gasoline prices.

August 6, 2010 4:57 pm

The engineer claimed in BBC radio interviews this was a ‘first’ and a ‘new dawn’.
He’s about 60 years late – during the second world war many cars in Britain were converted to run on methane from chicken or pig manure. In 1964 a friend at school had one of these as his first car – but he had bottled gas on the back seat to run it from.

Nick Harding
August 6, 2010 5:13 pm

re: latitude
cesspool not carpool for the other 69 homes 😉

August 6, 2010 5:24 pm

So do we call the Bio-Bug the Dung Beetle?

August 6, 2010 5:30 pm

Manufacturer’s motto: From your tailpipe to my tailpipe…..
Vanity plate could be

August 6, 2010 5:44 pm

Yeah, I see several people caught the Daily Bayonet christening it as the Dung Beetle — perfect. You could market it to all those African Kleptocrats who say we owe them Trillion$ for AGW damage.

August 6, 2010 5:45 pm

The point is not that cars can run on methane, it is that a clean energy source (CH4) is literally going to waste. Some waste water treatment plants have been using anarobic digestion in cleaning the water and using the byproduct methane to generate enough electricity to operate their facilities. Some factories are tapping landfills to provide their natural gas needs. North Carolina has an incentive program trying to get hog farms to convert their waste lagoons to usable methane generators. Methane is our best bet for a renewable energy resource.

Craig Moore
August 6, 2010 5:54 pm

Wasn’t it Olivia Newton John who sang “Let me hear your potty talk, your potty talk, let me hear your potty talk.”

August 6, 2010 5:57 pm

Big deal, a car that runs on human waste. Congress has been doing this for decades.

Craig Moore
August 6, 2010 6:02 pm

Will the History Channel do a special on how the Templar Knights evolved to create the Methanic Temple where they worship at the alter of the Biomass fodder, the sun, and the holy poop?

John from CA
August 6, 2010 6:02 pm

Roger says:
August 6, 2010 at 4:57 pm
You’re right but thanks to the EPA “the cost to convert to CNG can range from about $12,500 to $22,500 depending on the vehicle, engine, size of CNG tanks needed, and who does the converting.”

August 6, 2010 6:14 pm

Oh no, it’s much worse than Dung Beetle: meet the 2011 Green Gasser.
Buckle up in a Jolly Green Gasser today.
Also comes in a flashy Raspberry Red and a cool-blue Bronx Cheer.
Imitation is the sincerest form of Flatulence.

August 6, 2010 6:15 pm

If we convert the Pope-mobile over to this technology it could be the poop-mobile instead. If we convert our police cars to this technology, they could be called pooper troopers.
I can see it now when the family goes on vacation. “We’re out of gas! Give me a bran muffin and some beans so I can fill up.”
I once had a car with a putt-putt engine that took forever to get to 65 MPH. If I had this, I would have a car with a poot-poot engine. The makers of such an engine can have the slogan: Your “business” is our business!
Sorry, I can’t resist such low-brow jokes. This actually is pretty neat. I just think they should have talked about getting methane from landfills instead of from sewage treatment plants. Too many potty jokes.

Gary Hladik
August 6, 2010 6:25 pm

“A car that runs on methane gas produced from human waste has been launched and its makers claim drivers cannot tell the difference.”
Reminds me of the old Monty Python sketch: “I can’t tell the difference between Whizzo Butter and this dead crab!”

Thanks for all the great humor in this thread; great way to end the work week.

Zeke the Sneak
August 6, 2010 6:27 pm

To the green movement: FLUSH 😀

Craig Moore
August 6, 2010 6:46 pm

I wonder if the Dung Beetle has the car seats modified into toilet seats to create a certain Zen oneness for the whole experience?
Perhaps Anthony could modify his electric commuter golf cart to test the hybrid aspects… or even add a fermenter on his roof to augment his solar experience. Sort of a new version of sh*t on a shingle.

August 6, 2010 6:47 pm

Hay don’t knock it. CH4 is great stuff and should be used as transportation fuel. Maybe my clients could even sell some of their natural gas. Lots of it under then wheat fields of Alberta.

August 6, 2010 6:48 pm

So you roll into the way station, or waste station, I guess, in your new Poupe De Ville and ask the shovelman to fill it with #2 and check the air freshener.

August 6, 2010 7:48 pm

I think all Greenies should demand neighborhood based methane generators. Former ACORN employees could be rehired as the new neighborhood poop cops. A few new laws would have to be passed to deal with scofflaws and underperforming households though. Lets say your quota is 250lbs of waste per month per household. If you fall short for more than three months you would receive a “free” extra box of canned beans, lard, mystery meat, and expired cheese to process…er…eat. Simple.
Exemptions would be allowed for vegetarians and seniors. Not much extra energy in that cup of wheat bran. And extra large seniors might put a extra burden on the health care system, so we can’t have that. Children would not be counted either as we don’t want to encourage over eating among the younger set. Diabetics would be exempt too, as well as people with cancer, smokers, alcoholics, teetotalers, stomach ulcers, hangnails, skin blemishs, bad breath and any other life threatening disease you can think of.
In short only perfectly healthy overeaters would be forced to support the rest of society in the production of renewable energy.
Hmm….? Sound familiar?

Gail Combs
August 6, 2010 8:10 pm

Nothing new. A chicken farmer in Leominster MA has been running a Chicken Poop Pick Up (or is that a Poop Up) truck for close to twenty years.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
August 6, 2010 8:44 pm

Number crunching:

Excrement flushed down the lavatories of just 70 homes is enough to power the car for 10,000 miles – the equivalent of one average motoring year.

10,000 miles, 50 work weeks (allow 2 for vacation), 5 work days a week. Just 40 miles a day if only used for work. The “average” must be weighted towards city dwellers.

The Bio-Bug emits three tonnes of carbon dioxide in an average year whilst a conventional vehicle emits 3.5 tonnes.

How many CO2 tonnes are released in the processing, storing, and delivery of the methane during an average year?

Around 18 million cubic metres of biogas is produced from human waste every year at Wessex Water’s sewage treatment works in Avonmouth, Bristol.
The Bio-Bug does 5.3 miles per cubic metre of biogas, which means that just one sewage works could power 95,400,000 miles per year saving 19,000 tonnes of CO2.

Which works out to enough for 9,540 “average” vehicles, provided said methane isn’t being used for anything else. At 70 homes a vehicle, 667,800 homes are supplying that one plant.
However, by the best numbers I can find, Wessex Water provides sewer service for 2.7 million customers with 405 treatment plants, thus 6,666 and 2/3 customers per plant.
Thus, roughly speaking, it appears this one particular plant is about 100 times larger than average, and Wessex Water must run a bunch of really small plants. Or someone has their numbers off in a way that makes the numbers look too optimistic. Or since sleep was really short and some time ago I am currently incapable of correctly using a calculator. Feel free to check my math.
Also for an “average” work week that’s 37.7 cubic meters of methane. What compression ratio would that be at what pressure to get a “once a week” fill up?
Also, notice how often with a wreck there’s fuel spilled. I’d want some very strong safeguards against the compressed methane causing an instant fireball.

It can power a conventional two litre VW Beetle convertible to 114mph.

And on roads that are level or *gasp* uphill?
Fun Stuff: Found in the Wikipedia “Optimized For Climate Change” methane entry:

Usually, excess methane from landfills and other natural producers of methane is burned so CO2 is released into the atmosphere instead of methane, because methane is such a more effective greenhouse gas.

Gee, and here I thought it was to prevent explosions and fires from methane buildup. Guess the Dreaded Global Warming-Inducing Dangers of the Powerful Greenhouse Gas methane were known and guarded against for, what, well over a half century by now?

Alex Heyworth
August 6, 2010 9:32 pm

Brown is the new green.

CRS, Dr.P.H.
August 6, 2010 9:38 pm

Har har har, everyone’s a comedian!!
*ahem* ….I specialize in anaerobic treatment technology, and yes, it’s true that human poop makes some pretty potent fumes…..however, ‘taint nothin’ like making biogas out of Iowa hog manure! THAT stuff is nuclear!
It’s a great process, most US wastewater plants use anaerobic digesters for sludge treatment & the methane-rich biogas saves them quite a bit on electrical costs.
Considering what Obama’s EPA is planning to spring on us for carbon dioxide regulations, I suggest you all start shopping for new septic tanks!

August 6, 2010 10:34 pm

Hmm, no information on the cost of converting current production or changing to methane. I would think it would be similar to natural gas though which would become cheaper with mass production. probably still wouldn’t be as cheap though.
Also no figures on the cost of capturing the methane or of distributing it to stations for sale. I am always gun shy of people touting how wonderful something is without cost estimates.

August 6, 2010 10:38 pm

Wot? No Mr Fusion?

August 6, 2010 10:56 pm

“…what sort of vanity license plate would an owner of a car like this new Bio Bug have?”
When a “c” sounds like an “s” of course!


Alex Baker
August 6, 2010 11:24 pm

Vanity plates?
After reading this article, my wife and I couldn’t stop thinking about vanity plates:

j molloy
August 6, 2010 11:26 pm

Richard hammond did this on top gear years ago. sorry I dont have a link

James Bull
August 6, 2010 11:47 pm

The water company I work for generate large amounts of their electric from methane produced in what are delightfully called” digester’s”. The gas is used to run large engine driven generators, the power is then used to run the treatment of the sewerage.
So if they think they could run cars on the “waste” gas it is already being used the only way they would sell it is if it was profitable (subsidised).
The other source is off gas from land fill sites which is also used to produce electric, so nice idea boys but. You would have to collect and store you own and then process it I’m sure the neighbours would love it.

Ian E
August 7, 2010 12:33 am

Some may feel it is a useful alternative to running on bee pee!

August 7, 2010 1:05 am

What about the acceleration though…like Sh** off a shovel…

David, UK
August 7, 2010 2:37 am

This is the thin end of the wedge. Mark my words, thirty years from now we’ll be driving with a gas pipe up our arses. Brussels sprouts and baked beans will be the new bio fuels.

August 7, 2010 4:04 am

This is really old. In my town our wastewater treatment plant has been using methane to power the facility for years and years. They also had/have a few converted cars that were powered by methane. More MSM repackaging of ancient news…

August 7, 2010 5:34 am

I’ve got another one. If UPS converted all of their trucks to this technology, it would give new meaning to their slogan “What can brown do for you?”

August 7, 2010 6:57 am

Kinda’ like “Back to the Future”, they used trash and garbage, and of course they has the Flux Capacitor too.

August 7, 2010 8:27 am

Here in the UK we are limited to the letter/number combinations in vanity plates. But, with apologies to the Germans for poo-r spelling, we could have SH31 SER.

August 7, 2010 8:27 am

Ha Its just cleaned biogas in a car we knew how to do that in the 1960’s. Helps to live near a dairy or a piggery. Such farm can make more biogas in a day than a town produces in a week. Its a useless report as far as details are concerned. Biogas is the most efficient biofuel. Almost everything but meat can be digested in the anaerobic digester but there’s a catch. The gas is 30-50% CO2 and 70-50% methane. That makes it incompressible. You can scrub out the CO2 with lime water but that’s not cheap. My guess is that that’s what they have done. Good luck getting a patent on that; the technique is a century old. They may be using a new membrane. Now that would be a breakthrough.
Storing the gas in the car will have the same challenges of LNG. The easy solution there is to mix in a little propane with the gas and chill while stirring. That makes a dense frozen gel at about -20.
Biogas cars will have a niche somewhere but they will need a big farm nearby not a city. A peak oil solution for China they have a lot of biogas plants already.
Most new sewage works built since 1998 have been anaerobic like the Boston Sewage plant on the bay. However these all burn the methane in a co-generator to dry the sludge to fertiliser.
Yes I have a degree in water and sewerage. lol.

August 7, 2010 11:38 am

We can now officially declare that the British bio-fueled auto industry is in the toilet.

David, UK
August 7, 2010 11:59 am

Wesley Bruce says:August 7, 2010 at 8:27 am : “Biogas cars will have a niche somewhere but they will need a big farm nearby not a city.”
Wesley, soon you won’t need to live near a farm OR a city; as long as you’re prepared to take a dump in your fuel tank.

August 7, 2010 3:29 pm

I think I have seen everything now and I can die a happy man!!! A car that runs on poop? At what point did society fall apart and some genius decide that we need a “Poop Car” ? With so much talk about “going green”, someone decided to “go brown”! HAHAHAHA. When will they have Dildo cars? That is the only natural step!

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
August 7, 2010 4:49 pm

How strange, we have people who complain (loudly) about using °F instead of °C or K (Use METRIC for Science!), yet I have noticed nothing but silence over a British UK article where they freely mixed miles and “litres.” Is it normal for Brits UK-ers to talk about “miles per litre”?

M White
August 8, 2010 6:00 am
Methane powered car runs on human excrement

August 8, 2010 6:46 am

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
August 7, 2010 at 4:49 pm
British newspapers have the most ridiculous mixture in their style guides. Not only do they mix units as you’ve highlighted, the Telegraph (for one) has a preference for Fahrenheit and other olde worlde units. Furthermore, and to get really pedantic, *every* Brit newspaper that I’ve read online and other online mags, and the BBC, don’t follow the SI standard when quoting temperatures – they omit the degrees symbol. Thus, they write 10C or 10 C instead of 10 °C.
For some, that’s just too anal to bother with. Fair enough, but for those with a science or engineering background, international standards, accuracy, correctness, honesty, etc., can make the difference between being a scientist and an AGWist.

Reed Coray
August 8, 2010 10:46 am

PJB says:
August 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm
Manufacturer’s motto: From your tailpipe to my tailpipe…..
Vanity plate could be

Thanks!!! You’ve given me the best laugh I’ve had in a month. Now if you’ll just send me the money for a new monitor.

Reed Coray
August 8, 2010 11:08 am

I never thought I’d live to see the day when the expression: You’re full of sh** would be a compliment.

Chris Edwards
August 8, 2010 11:15 am

There is a new diesel tech that uses urea to make it burn clean, we know where urea comes from it seems that transport is in the toilet!!
Did’nt the UK farmers use this in WW2 when gas was rationed?
I have a great idea, unbolt the cat, introduce tetra-ethel lead instead of alcahol and up the compression ratio and hugely improve the fuel consumption .

August 8, 2010 2:46 pm

Logistics is always the failure factor. The equivalent of “light, sweet crude” oil is rather easily obtainable from any vegetative (carbohydrate) source, and that was discovered by a scientist and published in a 1941 edition of Life magazine. I possess a copy of that issue, but don’t have it at hand right this instant. I have it stored away as of now.
There have been 2 fully functional pilot plants constructed and successfully operated in the US for a good while now using that principal, and as of about 6 years ago, the cost of the “oil” produced, with the amortized cost of the physical plant included, was estimated to be about $15 per barrel. A dependable and steady source of the input feed was one hold back. Of course, that would not be a difficult problem to be overcome. But had a large investment have been made to build such plants, the large oil companies could have undercut the price of their crude to put the new company out of business.
In one of the popularized science magazines I subscribed to when I was a young lad in high school, there was an article, with photos of the apparatus used, about a high school chem teacher in Texas who was making gasoline, lubricating oil and lubricating grease in his garage, about 10 or 11 gallons of gasoline per week (which he made for personal use in a “Detroit piece of iron” he drove).
He used his own yard waste for an input source of material, and newspaper for a heat source. It was constructed from the tank of a residential water heater, and common chem lab glass and rubber tubing (for a fractional distillation unit). I can only guess that he had discovered a new catalyst that eliminated the pressurization and lowered the temperature needed to separate molecules of H2O from the carbohydrate molecules in the material input feed as opposed to the process described in the Life magazine article.
We are often the source of our own problems. There is no economical or technological problem in obtaining all the fuel we need as oil and diesel (including coal fuel) from what is a renewable source; waste vegetative matter and vegetative matter which has been processed into paper, cardboard and the like, which we are presently paying high costs to dispose of in landfills.

Zeke the Sneak
August 8, 2010 2:55 pm

That’s exactly why you should always pronounce it, “yer Ah-ness,” almost like, “your highness.”
Otherwise, it might also be urine-us, URANUS power.

August 22, 2010 9:03 pm

thank! for good article.
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