A New Way to Produce Coal From Biomass

Good news from Germany!
Markus Antonietti from Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces has devised a chemical process that converts biomass like leaves, pine cones and other plant residue into wet coal (coal + water). Biomass goes into the autoclave, a kind of pressure cooker, water goes in, too, along with a citric acid catalyst. A chemical reaction takes place and coal is produced.

The single major by-product of the reaction is water, which can be filtered off. In contrast to other biomass techniques this reaction does not generate carbon dioxide. It also gives a higher energy product, which even smells acceptable.

We underestimated this when we started. We could calculate how much energy was stored in the sugar – in the leaf material. But the first time – as you see – we had a runaway reaction, which is obviously dangerous, so we need to carry it out under safe conditions.

-Markus Antonietti

About Cam Proctor

Cameron works diligently in this academic and personal live to build capacity within communities and people towards the mutually inclusive goals of environmental sustainability and rewarding lifestyles. An avid supporter of education, Cameron believes in Thingsaregood.com as the “missing link” between alternative news and community involvement. Integrating his knowledge into writing, he pails in comparison to other writers in the humour dimension.

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