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UPDATED: May 2, 2012
Chinese Scientists Turn Kitchen Waste into Fuel

Researchers in east China's Zhejiang Province are working on a project that aims to convert kitchen waste into biofuel.

The project will not only ease energy shortages, but also reduce environmental pollution by allowing for the proper treatment of large amounts of kitchen waste, according to research team leader Ji Jianbing, a professor at the Zhejiang University of Technology in Hangzhou.

Ji's team has already figured out how to use bioconversion technology to turn kitchen waste into fuel for automobiles, as well as learned how to turn leftover material from the conversion process into organic fertilizer.

"Our goal is to create a production line that is able to treat 400 tons of waste daily within the next five years," Ji said.

The 400 tons of kitchen waste can produce 24,000 cubic meters of methane and 26 tons of bio-diesel, Ji said, adding that the fuel can be used in buses and taxis.

The 26 tons of bio-diesel can fuel 1,300 buses for one day, while the gas produced by the waste can supply a day's worth of energy for 800 taxis, or about one fifth of Hangzhou's cabs, he said.

China's cities produce about 60 million tons of kitchen waste every year, which contains an amount of energy equivalent to 4.3 to 6.14 million tons of standard coal.

Recycling waste from kitchens, factories and farms is becoming an increasingly active area of scientific research in China.

Currently, the country can produce at least 300,000 to 500,000 tons of bio-diesel from kitchen waste every year to support fishing boats and agricultural machines.

However, experts said high production cost is a major hurdle to prevent the fledgling industry from further expanding.

(Xinhua News Agency April 30, 2012)

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