Human Waste Helps Oslo's Carbon Footprint

Buses in Norway's capital will run on methane distilled from feces
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2009 4:21 PM CST
Graphic shows increase levels in methane and nitrogen trifluoride gases.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Norwegian officials have hit on a novel, if gassy, alternative to carbon-spewing gasoline, Dave Demerjian writes in Wired. Starting in September, Oslo will capture methane, a byproduct of the process at its sewage treatment plants, and use it to power city buses. Norway hopes to use the gaseous human contribution as part of its plan to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

Eighty buses will be powered by methane produced at Oslo’s two plants, which was previously burned off, boosting carbon emissions and helping no one. “Using biomethane makes sense,” an official said. “The reduction … will go a long way to achieving our carbon-neutral target.” The gas is 50 cents cheaper than diesel, and will result in 44 fewer tons of CO2 per bus per year.