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back to article Council fields world's first rubbish-fuelled rubbish truck

For a brief moment this week, the focus of electric vehicle development in Britain was Huddersfield town centre and while the location may lack the glamour of Geneva, Monaco or Los Angeles what was on show was not without interest. Kirklees 'leccy rubbish truck Kirklees Council's 'leccy truck: local van for local people In …

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Just one other problem...

So...let me get this straight...you have an electric truck...brilliant! Charged with electricity which is made by burning rubbish...which negates the Carbon Dioxide advantage. Thus completely negating the point of having an electric vehicle in the first place.

In fact...I'm pretty damn sure it'd be MORE green being run off diesel.

What lunacy.

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Shame

Damn, I had visions of some vaguely steampunk looking contraption, trundling slowly down the street belching flames as it incinerated the rubbish that passers-by threw into its gaping maw. Or something.

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Green Cross Code?

"... could pose safety issues for any locals who forget to look both ways when crossing the road ..."

Well, how about pedestrians actually F***ing look before crossing the road? Or is there a plan to retrofit bicycles etc. with "a recording of a thumping big V8"?

I say run the fsckers over.

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Bright!

Makes sense - when will other Stoopidz-Cooncils roll this out?

Next they'll realise land-fill-contents = "fuel" for burning, which means 'leccy for putting into the grid.

Genius!

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Surely bio-digestion would be better ?

I dunno, but burning the rubbish seems less green than putting suitable material into a bio-digestser. Once the bacteria start feasting you capture the methane and either use that to power the vehicle (the CO2 has already been locked into the plant / waste matter so it's not adding CO2) or to generate the leccy for the vehicle. The point being that the solid waste from the bio-digestion process can be used in fertiliser for growing more green matter that will lock in more CO2 and can be put through the process again and again and again ....

I'm not sure the ash woud have the same nutrient / calorific value. But who knows, somebody knows, but hey it's Freitag and these pine-kernel, olive and Rochfort toasties are helping me to produce plenty of methane.

(The futures a muddy sort of grotty brown imho - but not of the Gordon variety)

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Council fields world's first rubbish-fueled rubbish truck

Not quite a DeLorean, and they need to get the electrical supply incorporated into a Mr Fusion device in the back - but they're on the right track...

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Nothing changes

Why oh why etc... First we have garbage trucks that have horrendously noisy engines and now they're completely silent. I wish they'd electrify those horrendously noisy buses too.

Reminds of an apocryphal story from some years ago when some bright spark in health and safety thought it was a good idea to make the indicators on motorbikes beep when used (non-bikers: the indicators don't self-cancel). Apparently when a bike was waiting or turning slowly at a junction with said beeping indicators deployed the sound was uncannily like the beeping pedestrian crossings when it's safe to cross. Only it wasn't. Funnily enough they don't fit them anymore.

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They're not the first...

We've had an electric powered behicle collecting food waste, which is them used in a biodigester to recharge the vehicle since mid 2008.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/shropshire/7404798.stm

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not First

Russia during WW2 converted quite a few vehicles to run on gas-generators. You load a tank with rubbish and wood chops, warm it (by burning some of it) and use the carbon monoxide, methanol, formaldehide and other nasties mix which the dry distillation of wood (and suitable rubbish) produces as a fuel for an engine. Hideous, smelly, inefficient but works.

Germans also used the same technology (to a lesser extent) in the later stages of the war.

So it is most likely not the first rubbish truck powered by rubbish.

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A vroom box would do the trick!

Perfect...

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Terms

Surly a "rubbish collection vehicle" collects rubbish and not garbage, unless the US has now taken over good ol' Blighty?

It would be interesting to compare the energy created from the burning of the refuse picked up by the van with the energy needed to run it.

Your figures only give the total amount of energy produced by the burning of waste, which I assume, doesn't all come from this little white van.

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Unhappy

Electric vehicles....

... alternate fuels.....yawn.

None of this is new. I'm sure I'm not the only person to remember the fleets of electric milk floats trundling around our towns at the crack of dawn.

I also (vaguely) seem to recall Bristol University, in conjunction with a local power company, running a number of prototype electric cars back in the mid to late 80s. Even earlier still, Wessex Water Authority (as it was then) had plans to run vehicles on methane produced at it's water/sewerage treatment plants.

This is not new, peeps. True, vehicles powered by the waste they collect is *slightly* novel, but come on...

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Joe
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Bwa ha ha!

Great caption for the first photo... so you've been to the Cleckhuddersfax Triangle, then?

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Stu
Go

Interesting about the lack of noise...

...because just yesterday I nearly hit two pedestrians coming down a hill on my electric bicycle as they just stepped out into the road.

The road was recently converted to a one way, that is, UP the hill. So nobody bothers looking the other direction any more as they cross over.

Obvious conclusion, fit a V8 noise maker to my bike, oh and to every other normal pedal powered bicycles in my town too as the locals are far too stupid to bother looking.

.

And before anybody goes querying why I'm going the wrong way down a one way street, well its either that or the pavement, or a hundred odd metre detour which goes along a busy and dangerous main road with a huge bus lane where a bicycle lane should be. It was (or maybe just felt) less safe for me when it was a two way road!

There is a cycle lane on it too, but its on the right hand side when coming down the hill, and so drivers always think you're passing them on the wrong side.

Its all very complicated ;-)

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Smith Electric Vehicles

Having seen Smith mentioned in this report, I found it worth taking a look at the Case Studies page on their website http://www.smithelectricvehicles.com for some fascinating examples of other situations in which these trucks have been used.

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@ Roffey123

One interesting fact that arose during our visit to the EfW plant yesterday was that they have no idea how much Co2 the place produces. Apparently that measurement is not one they are mandated to take by either central or local government.

Of course the EfW plant would be producing the same amount of Co2 even if the leccy Transit wasn't being charged on-site, so from that point of view they are "saving" the Co2 a conventional lorry would generate.

The firm that built and run the EfW plant, SITA UK (http://www.sita.co.uk/local-authorities/integrated-waste/kirklees) take the view that the Co2 produced is far less damaging to the environment than the methane that would be produced if the same rubbish went to landfill rather than being burned.

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@Stu

As a road-user, you should be able to comprehend road signs... Could you not have (gasp!) got off yer bike and walked those 100 yards? Ignoring no-entry and one-way signs makes all cyclists unpopular. I'm guessing that traffic lights hold no meaning for you either?

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Bah

I'm with Jerome. A total let-down.

Ya gotta love the little shed roof on the blue pole though.

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@Bah by Stevie

That 'little shed roof' is probably a solar cell array for backup purposes.

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Boffin

@roffey123

If you bury organic matter in a shallow landfill, it decays to methane -- which is 20 times more damaging in its unburned state than the carbon dioxide you would have got from burning it. You could try processing it via some sort of biological digestion, but Hess's Law says the energy you get out of it in the end will be the same, irrespective of the exact sequence of chemical reactions.

Consider also that every molecule of CO2 that comes from this plant -- and much of it will invariably be from plant or animal sources, hence originally from CO2 already in the atmosphere -- means one less molecule of CO2 from a fossil-fuel power plant somewhere else .....

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Co2? Dont' forget..

CO2? Don't forget, fossil fuels *also* were plants at one point or another. That said I think burning trash is far better than just tossing it in some landfill.

@Anton: Yep, I remember seeing a photo somewhere of a wood-converted Beetle. Same concept, you don't really *burn* the wood so much as gassify it, and the engine burns that. I remember the gassification made about half the power of gasoline.

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