New technology turns leaves to coal in hours

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New technology turns leaves to coal in hours
Photo: DPA

German scientists have developed a new technology to transform garden waste into fuel overnight, Der Spiegel magazine reported over the weekend. The resulting brown pellets can be used to fire conventional power stations.


German scientists have developed what could prove to be a revolutionary green technology to help solve the energy supply problem.

Garden waste such as grass, leaves or plant clippings, is placed in a kind of pressure cooker which can transform it into a form of coal, wrote the magazine, completing in a matter of hours a process which takes millions of years in nature.

"The bio-coal has almost the same characteristics as brown coal, with the difference that it's C02 neutral," Friedrich von Ploetz, head of the Suncoal company based outside Berlin, one of three bio-coal plants now operating in the country.

The best part about the new technology, wrote the magazine, is that unlike in the production of conventional biogas any organic matter - including food waste - can be 'carbonized' and transformed into fuel.

The breakthrough could mean an extra four million tons of fuel could be generated every year in Germany alone, according to the state-affiliated Johann-Heinrich-von-Thünen-Institute, enough to provide electricity for 2.5 million households.

The Local/jlb


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