The red double-decker buses in London are absolutely iconic.



Those a certain age may even remember the show Here Come the Double Deckers, which, while British made, actually debuted in America on September 12th, 1970—airing at 10:30AM EST on ABC.  Even adding in the 5 hour difference to get to Greenwich Mean Time, the British airing time was later, at 4:55PM—and it was actually much later, because the show didn’t start on BBC 1 until January 1st, 1970.   

The 17-episode series was aimed at children, and revolved around the adventures of seven young blokes who hung out together in an old red double-decker sitting in a junk yard.



In more modern times, the 2004 movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban featured a triple-decker bus—in purple, no less– the so-called AEC Regent III RT which served as an emergency vehicle for the wizarding community.  And for those who might be concerned about such a tall vehicle fitting under bridges and such—no worries.  The Harry Potter bus was magic, so it simply shrank down.



To create the bus for the movie, three separate AEC Regent III buses were cut down and formed together.  One of the prop buses was brought in to Universal Studios, Orlando for the grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  It’s since been moved as part of Diagon Alley.   No worries about the prop bus, either— the top of the bus was designed to be removable when filmmaking required the bus to go under bridges.  

And now it appears the iconic London double-decker is determined to be not only iconic, but trendy too:  as trendy as a cup of joe on a bracing morning.  Yes, some London’s buses are running on a biofuel created from oil extracted from used java grounds.

It’s coffee and commuting in a whole new way.



The BBC reports that coffee oil (mixed with traditional diesel fuel) is now incorporated into London’s public transportation fuel mix.  Adding the coffee biofuel was intended to reduce emissions, which could happen as ‘coffee power’ expands—right now only a small portion of the bus fleet is actually using the fuel.   London city buses use about 60 million gallons of diesel a year, and Bio-bean, the company producing the coffee fuel, has only made about 1,580 gallons.  So the coffee fuel may be good to the last drop, but as of right now it’s only a drop in the proverbial bucket.

The coffee grounds come from local coffee shops and restaurants, as outlined in Bio-beans’ press release.  With London alone producing over 200,000 tons of coffee ground waste each year, there’s plenty of raw ‘fuel’ being produced to tap for power, especially considering the fact that one of the most British of habits—teatime– is being overshadowed by coffee consumption in Great Britain.

It’s likely that at this point you’re wondering one more thing about the coffee fuel.  But, unfortunately:  coffee fuel does not preserve the aroma, so you’ll still have to visit a London-area coffee shop to enjoy your favorite morning smell.  Oh, and despite the input of all that coffee:  London buses fueled with the coffee biofuel are reported not to drive inherently any faster. 

Innovation is always happening—even with some of the most iconic things in life.  And the fact is that one of the best ways to become iconic in the first place is by continual innovation.



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