The Pakistani port city of Karachi, is set to introduce more environmentally friendly buses powered by bio-methane onto the streets, in order to improve air quality and mitigate global warming.

With funding from the international Green Climate Fund, Karachi will launch a zero-emission Green Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network, with 200 buses fuelled by bio-methane.

The new bus system, due to start operating in 2020, will help reduce air pollution and street noise.

Malik Amin Aslam, Climate Change Advisor for the Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan, said the BRT system was the first transport project the Green Climate Fund had approved, and would bring “multiple environmental and economic benefits”.

The bus network will cater for 320,000 passengers daily, and should reduce planet-warming emissions by 2.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent over 30 years.

The Green Climate Fund, set up under U.N. climate talks to provide finance to developing countries to help them grow cleanly and adapt to a warming climate, will provide $49m for the Karachi project out of a total cost of $583.5m.

Bio-methane source 

The BRT system, to be rolled out over four years, will have a fleet of 200 hybrid buses that will run on bio-methane produced from manure excreted by Karachi’s 400,000 milk-producing water buffaloes, and collected by the authorities.   

Biogas, biomethane and a green future

The project will prevent about 3,200 tonnes of cow manure entering the ocean daily by converting it into energy and fertiliser at a biogas plant, and will save more than 50,000 gallons of fresh water now used to wash that waste into the bay, Aslam explained.