• 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
Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
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
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
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

3,525
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd