Burning Money For Methanol

As Europe adopts the new euro currency to replace national banknotes, a waste treatment company in east German will produce more methanol.

SCHWARZE PUMPE, Germany, DE, 2002-01-14 [SolarAccess.com] Tonnes of old German mark banknotes must be destroyed, and the company, SVZ, has been mixing the shredded banknotes with other waste, compressing into small balls and producing fuel in a high temperature furnace. The process yields 300 kg of methanol for each tonne of waste. About 70 percent of the methanol is used by the chemicals industry to make glue, and the remaining 30 percent is used to produce electricity. Recycling banknotes has been financially lucrative for the company, but officials say the work has been “very beneficial for the image of our company.” Shredding the old banknotes represents only 200 of the 400,000 tonne of waste treated by SVZ each year but, as more money is withdrawn from circulation, the company could be swamped. It anticipates ten times more work in January and February, after the mark ceases to be legal tender in Germany on January 1.
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