Markus Antonietti of the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces (whatever that means) in Germany has pretty much figured out how to convert plant matter into coal without all of the millions of years of waiting inherent in the traditional methods.
Basically, Antonietti sticks plant matter, water and citric acid into an autoclave (pressure cooker) and then cooks the mixture at a few hundred degrees for about 12 hours. The result is coal, well…wet coal, which can be filtered and dried until it’s ready to burn.
The amazing thing is, the process produces no excess CO2, and all of the CO2 produced when the mixture is burned was recently fixed by modern plants (so there’s no net CO2 increase.) Maybe not as impressive as The Doc's Mr Fusion home fusion generator, but a step in the right direction.
Antionietti says that there’s nothing standing in the way of industrializing this process and creating a mine-free, carbon-neutral form of coal. Of course, he also says, as he rubs his faux coal between his fingers, that it has a strong masculine scent. The look in his eyes… is one of love.
Full article and Video available at DW-World
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