• 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)

Today's headlines
Hamburg volunteers test Ebola vaccine
Hamburg's UKE has helped lead the fight against Ebola. Photo: DPA

Hamburg volunteers test Ebola vaccine

Volunteers have rolled up their sleeves for the first phase of the human trial for an Ebola vaccine at the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Clinic (UKE), it was announced on Wednesday evening. READ  

US adds voice to chorus telling Germany to spend
Jacob Lew and Sigmar Gabriel. Photo: DPA

US adds voice to chorus telling Germany to spend

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, in a meeting on Wednesday with German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, called on Germany to boost public spending to stimulate stuttering eurozone growth, the Treasury said. READ  

Man leaps with son, 5, from third-floor window
Schönhauser Allee in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Man leaps with son, 5, from third-floor window

A father and his young son are in serious condition after police and firefighters were called to their home in northeast Berlin early on Wednesday morning. READ  

North braces for storms and floods
Cars waiting to be loaded onto the ferry at Bremerhaven, Lower Saxony, were caught in flooding on Wendnesday. Photo: DPA

North braces for storms and floods

UPDATE: The remnants of hurricane Gonzalo have drifted across the Atlantic and are now threatening North German cities with flooding, forecasters warned on Wednesday. The news followed a night of accidents caused by heavy winds in southern Germany. READ  

Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall
US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Berlin Wall. Photo: DPA

Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited remnants of the Berlin Wall on Wednesday and warned that East-West tensions again threaten freedom in Europe, 25 years after its collapse. READ  

Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Sonneborn in the EU Parliament. Photo: DPA

Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train

Martin Sonneborn can’t believe his luck. The German comedian, leader of the political party “Die Partei”, managed to get elected to the European Parliament in May, and has found himself overwhelmed with fresh material. READ  

The Local List
Which high school cliche is your city?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock

Which high school cliche is your city?

This week's Local List takes a leap of imagination and finds German cities fit perfectly into high school cliche categories. Who's the class clown? Who's the nerd? READ  

'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria
A screen grab from a jihadist video showing the grenades. Photo: DPA

'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria

The German military was on Wednesday investigating reports that Bundeswehr hand grenades have fallen into the hands of the Islamic State (Isis) terrorist group after a video appearing to show captured weapons surfaced on the Internet. READ  

Indian schools drop German teaching
Indian pupils enrolled in German classes prepare for Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to their school. Photo: DPA

Indian schools drop German teaching

Thousands of children in India will no longer be taught German after the country's education ministry allowed a contract to lapse. READ  

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt
A passenger plane landing at Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt

Three teenage girls from Colorado were arrested by German police at Frankfurt airport after running away from home, reportedly on their way to join Isis in Syria. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,510
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd