Human Waste Will Power New Sustainable UK Train

by : Daniel Richardson on : 07 Jan 2021 10:48
Human Waste Will Power New Sustainable UK TrainULR Partners

The thought of using your own waste for fuel might be unpleasant, but it could be a key part of sustainable travel in the future. 

The biomethane-fuelled railcar is being developed by Ultra Light Rail (ULR) Partners, and it will use farming crop residue, sewage sludge, animal manure and food waste as fuel.


The trains are intended for city travel, and the UK government is backing them in an effort to reverse historically damaging railway cuts.

concept trainBlack Country Chamber of Commerce

By using products that would naturally become carbon in the atmosphere, the trains do not contribute to new carbon emissions. Instead, these trains will simply reuse waste products by using bacteria to break them down into a gas that acts as fuel for the train.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund has awarded ULR Partners a £60,000 grant to assist in the development of the train. The train itself will be able to carry 120 passengers and will have some interesting features to provide safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


A statement from the Black Country Chamber of Commerce claimed that the trains will use ultraviolet lights and heavily filtered airflow to protect its passengers in a time where travel is discouraged. These features would make the trains among the safest available during the pandemic.

waste trainULR Partners

In a press statement, Beverley Nielsen, the chair of Ultra Light Rail Partners, outlined the benefits of the trains:

This really is a vote of confidence in our business which is fully focussed on providing lightweight affordable railcar travel as a comfortable, modern, reliable and safe alternative to travelling by car.

We want to be able to offer this option to larger towns and smaller cities around the UK so they can realistically take polluting vehicles out of their city and town centres improving quality of life for all.


According to the statement, recent monitoring by Sustainability West Midlands revealed that reducing the levels of just one pollutant, PM 2.5, by 50% would prevent as many as 952 deaths in the West Midlands alone each year.

sustainable trainULR Partners

The offering from ULR Partners also claims that it will be able to reduce the price of light railway travel. With this in mind, the introduction of this technology may help the wallets, safety and health of travellers.

While travelling on a train of human waste may sound like a dark metal album, it seems that the technology could provide plenty of benefits to commuters.


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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. Through working with the likes of Game Rant, The Hook and What Culture, Dan pursued his interests in technology. The skills he picked up along the way are now being utilised with UNILAD.

Topics: Technology, Tech, train, Transport