• Germany edition
 
Dog poo biofuel to power Berlin buses
Pooch poo's pungency puts Berliners on edge. Photo: DPA

Dog poo biofuel to power Berlin buses

Published: 01 Apr 2009 12:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Apr 2009 12:59 GMT+02:00

According to the Berlin Animal Protection Agency, the city is home to at least 107,000 pooches. The average dog produces some 274 pounds of waste each year – which means that city sidewalks and parks are burdened with almost 30 million pounds of canine crap annually.

“It’s a menace and a health hazard,” Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development spokesperson Edeltraud Schauffel told The Local on Wednesday. “It’s sad that people don’t take more pride in their city, but we hope that the new programme will motivate people to make a difference in their urban environment.”

It is technically illegal not to bag Fido’s faeces in German cities, but notoriously poor Berlin just hasn’t had the resources to enforce fines – much less hire poop scoopers to maintain public areas, Schauffel said. But now the city has teamed funds from dog ownership taxes and the Transportation Department to come up with a unique strategy to clean city streets of both dog waste and smog – the composted pooch poo will be converted to biofuel to power new eco-friendly buses built by Daimler.

The programme, called “Poo Power Berlin,” will begin in three of Berlin’s largest parks, the Tiergarten, Volkspark Friedrichshain and Treptower Park. City workers will place compost bins around the parks, complete with biodegradable balsa wood spades for picking up the Hundescheisse. The bins contain environmentally friendly chemicals that will break down the waste into a sludge that will be periodically transported to biofuel processing facilities in the city's Marzahn district.

“There is some concern that the biofuel will emit an unpleasant exhaust smell from the new buses,” Schauffel said. “No one has ever attempted such an ambitious biofuel project before, but we’re confident we can make it work.”

If the project is successful after one year, the city plans to place the bins in a grid network across Berlin by 2012.

“Who knows? Maybe one day all of the city’s movements will be powered by dog waste,” Schauffler said.

As many readers no doubt have guessed, the above article is in honour of April Fool's Day and has very little basis in fact, barring the following exception:

Berlin really does have some 107,000 dogs who each produce 274 pounds of waste per year that ends up on sidewalks and in public areas - a nasty menace indeed.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Merkel targets 'shadow banks' in Lindau speech
Chancellor Angela Merkel opens the 2014 Lindau meetings. Photo: DPA

Merkel targets 'shadow banks' in Lindau speech

Chancellor Angela Merkel has opened an economics conference in Lindau, Bavaria, with a call for more regulation of so-called shadow banks. READ  

Dying town centres seek the miracle cure
A senior couple walk down Delmenhorst's main pedestrian promenade, amid a string of empty shops. Photo: Tomas Urbina

Dying town centres seek the miracle cure

Home to two-thirds of Germany's population, many of its small cities and towns are struggling to revive their declining centres. The Local's Tomas Urbina reports from Delmenhorst in Lower Saxony, as it tries to dig its way out of the economic doldrums. READ  

Quick-thinking trucker stops wrong-way driver
Signs warning drivers against entering a motorway off-road. Photo: DPA

Quick-thinking trucker stops wrong-way driver

Erich Mairleitner thought Tuesday would be another ordinary day hauling a load along the A3 motorway, but found himself the hero of the hour after stepping in to stop an accident. READ  

Germany ready to send arms to Iraqi Kurds
Usula van der Leyen and Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA

Germany ready to send arms to Iraqi Kurds

Germany is ready to send weapons to support Iraqi Kurds in their battle against the "barbaric" jihadist militants of the Islamic State, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Wednesday. READ  

The Local List
10 things to do before summer is really over
Photo: DPA

10 things to do before summer is really over

The German weather service (DWD) is blaming "Wild Wilma" for blanketing the country in cooler temperatures, but we know it's going to get a lot colder before the end of summer. This week's Local List challenges you to take advantage before autumn really sets in. READ  

Energy policy falls foul of federal auditors
Lightning illuminates the sky above a wind turbine. Photo: DPA

Energy policy falls foul of federal auditors

The Federal Court of Auditors (BRH) has sharply criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel's energy policy, saying that the previous coalition government failed to produce adequate financial plans. READ  

China orders German's execution for murders
A paramilitary guard stands inside Beijing's No.1 Detention Centre. Photo: DPA

China orders German's execution for murders

Update: A German man has been condemned to death in China for murdering his ex-girlfriend and her partner in a frenzied attack, it was reported on Wednesday. READ  

German aid planes to Iraq delayed
All filled up and nowhere to go. Photo: DPA

German aid planes to Iraq delayed

A German military flight to the conflict-addled region in northern Iraq has been delayed because Turkey denied landing permission for the layover at Incirlik airbase, according to a spokesman for the air force. READ  

Bomb shuts down A3 motorway
Photo: DPA

Bomb shuts down A3 motorway

A controlled detonation of a 500-kg bomb from the Second World War has left a 20-metre-wide crater in the middle of one of Germany's busiest traffic corridors on Tuesday night. READ  

Saxony schools get top marks
Photo: DPA

Saxony schools get top marks

A country-wide analysis has shown that Saxony has the best schools and Berlin has a lot of homework to do. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should.
Photo: DPA
National
Berlin's senate puts the brakes on Über
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: DPA
Culture
How I deal with my German Hausmeister
Photo: Ingrid Eulenfan/flickr
Gallery
Nine German treats you'll want to eat right now (and one you won't)
Photo: DPA
Society
Who's getting German citizenship?
Photo: DPA
Culture
How World War I changed Germany forever
Photo: APA/DPA
Gallery
The 12 best words in Austrian German
Photo: DPA
Society
'Look at those German shanty towns!'
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,315
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd