Pupils at Holy Trinity Primary School in Bradley Stoke were recently treated to an unusual assembly and a special visit by a poo-powered car.
The ‘Bio-Bug’ was launched last year to national and international acclaim and is the brainchild of Wessex Water’s renewable energy company GENeco. It is a converted VW Beetle that runs on methane gas produced from sewage sludge treated at the Bristol sewage treatment works in Avonmouth.
Julian Okoye and Boyd Goode of GENeco took the car in to Holy Trinity and conducted an interactive and fun technical demonstration assembly with audience participation from the whole school. After the assembly they also held a more detailed workshop session with some of the older children.
One of the highlights of the assembly was the selection of four children to join the GENeco team as ‘scientists’ in demonstrating to the school, with specially prepared GENeco samples, exactly what goes down the sewer network and how it is converted into renewable energy by millions of micro organisms through a completely natural process called anaerobic digestion.
At play time pupils were given the chance to look at the car, which was driven on to the school playground. The car has two biogas cylinders in the boot as well as a standard petrol engine. The waste from 70 homes could provide enough gas to power the car for a year.
Headteacher Jane Johns said the whole school really enjoyed the visit and found it highly entertaining and engaging.
“The children loved seeing the car and responded very well to the importance of the environmental messages presented. As a school we are keenly aware of sustainability issues and being good stewards of the earth’s resources is very important to us. It was fascinating for the children to see the car and to learn how waste could be converted into renewable energy.”
Julian Okoye GENeco’s business development manager said:
“It was a pleasure visiting Holy Trinity Primary School. The children were very well behaved and respectful. They were great fun to be with and asked some thoughtful questions. The children were intrigued to learn about the contribution the micro organisms made in producing renewable energy.”
“As a company our engagement with the community is driven by a genuine interest in finding creative and informative ways to help teach young people about science and engineering and how to care for the environment.”
Deputy headteacher Mr Stanley (pictured seated in the Bio-Bug) said:
“Many aspects of the presentation fitted really well with the water cycle work some of the older children had been studying earlier on in the year. The children also found it mind boggling to learn that waste can generate so much energy. By lunchtime the children were still discussing what they had learnt about the distance the car could travel when powered by waste.”
Talking about the future, Mr Okoye added:
“This is a really exciting time for the GENeco business. We currently produce over 40 GWh (40 million kWh) of renewable energy from the anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge. This is enough electricity to supply over 10,000 homes which is a town of about the size of Bradley Stoke.”
“In addition to this we are currently building a 40,000 tonne food waste treatment plant at our Bristol sewage treatment works in Avonmouth. This plant will transform food waste from councils, supermarkets, hospitals, businesses and manufacturing organisations into renewable energy and nutrient rich fertiliser and will be open in Autumn 2012. ”
“At full capacity the plant will be capable of providing the energy needs for up to 3,000 homes and will provide forwards thinking organisations with a cost effective and sustainable local solution for treating their food waste.”
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