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Published on March 4th, 2009 | by Dave Tyler


Coal Power: Now With Chocolatey Goodness?

March 4th, 2009 by  

The shells of cocoa beans like these are being used in an attempt to lower coal emissions.

Yes, chocolate is oh-so tasty and good. And we’ve heard that there may be health benefits to consuming the stuff in doses. You can power a truck with it. You can even promote peace with it. But can a byproduct from the process actually help coal burn cleaner?

Lindt USA and a New Hampshire utility are running tests to find out, the Associated Press reports. The chocolate maker and Public Service of New Hampshire mixed cocoa bean shells with coal Tuesday at the utility’s Schiller Station plant in Portsmouth to see how the mixture burned. The test used 18 tons of shells, in a ratio of 33 parts coal to one part cocoa.

The goal, Lindt and the utility said, is to see if the mixture produces a cleaner burn than just coal.

“We’re hoping for no change or less in the emissions, so it will be win-win situation for everyone,” Felicia Giordano, senior environmental coordinator for Schiller, told Seacoast Online. “In this day and age this is a step in the right direction for a cleaner future for New Hampshire.”

In 2010, Lindt, based in nearby Stratham, will open a bean roasting plant. The chocolate maker could wind up shipping shells to the coal plant on a regular basis. It would be the first arrangement of its kind in the U.S., officials said.

Of course it remains to be seen just how much cleaner the mixture burns. Consultants spent the day testing emissions and it’s not immediately clear when results will be available. But the mixture is still 33 parts coal to one part shells, so it’s hard to imagine results will be too radically different. And after all, we’re still talking about burning coal. You can cover the coal in a scrumptious chocolate shell, but it’s still coal.

Photo Credit: ccho’s flickr stream, under a Creative Commons License


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About the Author

Dave has over a decade of experience in journalism covering a wide variety of topics. He spent 7 years on the business beat for the Rochester (N.Y) Democrat and Chronicle, covering technology issues including the state's growing green economy. When he's not writing, you'll find Dave enjoying his family, being a bit of a music snob, and praying that the Notre Dame football team can get its act together. He lives in Rochester.

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