Renewable biogas: Next RFS darling or marginal fuel?

By Mackinnon Lawrence, Biofuels Digest:

Biogas is on the comeback – just as the Toto launches a poop-powered motorbike and draws new attention to the question of what to do with all that sludge.

Pike Research biofuels guru and noted Digesterati Mackinnon Lawrence marches us (gingerly) across the wastescape.

Last month, Japanese toilet company Toto Ltd., debuted a first-of-kind poop-powered, three-wheeled motorcycle, christened “Toilet Bike Neo.” Adorned with a toilet as a seat and a roll of paper flowing from the back, Toilet Bike Neo — or what many are calling the “poop-mobile” — is actually powered by a combination of fertilized, purified livestock waste and gray-water. Amazingly, each tank of excrement can take the Toilet Bike Neo up to 180 miles.

Desperate times calling for desperate measures aside, the poop-mobile is the kind of innovation that leaves you scratching your head, trying to figure out what utility it might possibly offer. The answer is not much, at least from what may be gleaned from its kitschy design, but utility was not likely Toto’s primary intent. The Toilet Bike, though, brings to light questions around the broader potential for biogas as a renewable transportation fuel, an application that has been gaining increased attention in recent years. Still, biogas fuel’s broader market potential is still relatively undefined and mostly overshadowed by shale gas… Read more

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