A bus powered by cow manure has set a land speed record in the UK. The biomethane-fueled "Bus Hound" hit a lap speed of 76.785 mph around a test circuit in Bedford — the fastest time recorded for a regular bus. As reported by BBC News, the Bus Hound is usually in service in the town of Reading in southeast England, but mechanics removed its speed limiter (usually set to 56 mph) to see how fast it could go.
"We're modern, fast, and at the cutting edge of innovation."
Reading Buses engineer John Bickerton said the company set the record in order to prove the credentials of biomethane buses. "We wanted to get the image of bus transport away from being dirty, smelly, and slow. We're modern, fast, and at the cutting edge of innovation," Bickerton told BBC News. "It was an impressive sight as it swept by on the track. It sounded like a Vulcan bomber — the aerodynamics aren't designed for going 80 mph." The bus was, however, painted appropriately enough with the black and white splotches of a Holstein-Friesian — the most common dairy cow in the UK.
The Bus Hound — a pun on the British Bloodhound supersonic land vehicle — uses compressed natural gas as fuel that's created from cow manure via a process known as anaerobic digestion. This gas is then liquefied and stored in tanks on the roof of the vehicle, with 34 of Reading's buses now using the environmentally friendly fuel. A similar biomethane bus service is also in operation in Bristol in the UK — although instead of animal waste, this uses gas created from the human feces and food waste of 32,000 local residents.