Buses driven by biogas, Lille
Lille is a city in the North of France and has a population of more than 225,000 inhabitants. The Law on Air and Rational Energy Use of 30th December 1996 made it compulsory to elaborate on the Urban Mobility Plan for urban areas of more than 100,000 inhabitants. As a result, a new responsibility area came into force in the CUDL (Urban Community of Lille). For this, the city introduced buses which run on biogas.
Due to the great number of travellers - 4 million per day - a city as large as Lille must face the challenge of air pollution. From 1994 to 1998 eight diesel buses had been converted into biogas fuelled vehicles in an experimental project. The buses used the biogas produced in the Marquette sewage plant. Despite of an engine tuning problem, the project proved to be successful, the CO2 emissions had been reduced and the noise level decreased 60%. This success resulted in a larger-scale project which included the building of a bus depot with 127 biogas buses, a biogas plant in a waste collection site, a natural gas filling station and other buses (along with their biogas counterparts there are now 311 buses, all of them corresponding to the Euro IV. standard).
Biogas is a renewable energy source compared to fossil fuels. It mainly consists of methane (around 50%), carbon-dioxide, nitrogen and other gases. Nitrous oxide warms the atmosphere 310 times more than carbon dioxide, while methane warms the air 21 times more. If treated properly, biogas fuelled vehicles produce no polluting gases. Therefore, the use of these vehicles helps reducing the greenhouse gas emission and slows down the effects of climate change.
Biogas is produced by anaerobic digestion or fermentation of biodegradable materials such as biomass, manure, sewage, municipal waste, green waste, plant material and energy crops. The new buses use biogas produced in an organic waste centre. Here the waste is treated with fermentation, and the captured, purified biogas is transported to the depot. The buses are refuelled daily.The treated organic waste is used as compost in large farms.
A biogas plant and bus depot have been built. Nowadays, there are 150 environment-friendly biogas buses and Refuse Collection Vehicles in the city. Moreover, the plant fuels household wastes. The annual compost production of the plant is about 34,000 tonnes; the biogas production is about 3 million m3.
Urban Community of Lille Métropole
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