READING, England, May 25 (UPI) -- The same bus model that typically transports residents of Reading, England, around the city recently set a land speed record. The bus topped out at 76.785 mph as it rounded the track at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.
The kicker is -- the bus is powered by cow poo or, more accurately, bovine manure-derived biomethane. In honor of its fecal fuel source, the bus is painted in black and white spots (like a cow).
Bus Hound was built by Reading Buses, a transportation company in Southern England. The company's fleet features vehicles that normally don't break 56 mph.
"The code name for the bus itself is Bus Hound," the company explains on its website, "which is a homage to the Bloodhound SSC team who are attempting to go slightly faster than us in breaking the actual land speed record -- at 1000 mph."
Those who were at the track when the record was set were struck by the sights and sounds.
"It was an impressive sight as it swept by on the track," John Bickerton, chief engineer for Reading Buses, told the BBC. "It sounded like a Vulcan bomber -- the aerodynamics aren't designed for going 80 mph."
The record-setting feat was part of an attempt to shine a positive light on bus transportation and the use of methane fuels.
Methane is heralded by some in the energy and transportation industry as an ideal alternative fuel source. Its use, supporters argue, prevents the burning of fossil fuels and burns methane (a greenhouse gas) that would have otherwise made its way into the atmosphere.
"Most importantly, we wanted to get the image of bus transport away from being dirty, smelly, and slow," Bickerton said. "We're modern, fast, and at the cutting edge of innovation."
Liquid methane -- which with just a few tweaks can be used in most any combustible engine -- doesn't have to be derived from cow dung. Another bus in England runs on biomethane captured from treated human and food waste (human poo).