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BEIJING (Web Desk) – A Chinese city is keeping its lights on at night using the power generated through burning truckloads of damaged banknotes.


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This year alone over 1,800 tonnes of money with a value of almost 180 billion yuan (£18 billion) has been incinerated to generate electricity in Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province, according to The People’s Daily online.

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The money burnt is the old 100 Yuan (£10) red banknotes that are now being replaced nationwide with a new design.

Every month the Biomass Power Co. incinerator turns about 30 tonnes of money mixed with straw into power.

On November 12, China released its 2015 addition of the fifth set of 100 Yuan banknotes, all the notes from previous years will be shipped to Yancheng city and turned into power, the Mail Online reports.

The money is measured by weight, not by face value. Before it is sent to the incinerator it is shredded and bundled up into small balls.

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“Each truck can carry 30 tonnes of shredded currency, the original value of which is worth three billion yuan (£307 million) we transport five trucks a month,” said fuel engineer Zhu Hongwei.

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One truck of burnt currency can generate 30,000 kilowatt hours.

Considering the average household in the city uses 100-kilowatt hours per month, this means the output of one truckload can supply one home with power for 25 years.

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Compared to other biomass fuels like sawdust, these banknotes have a high caloric value (a weightless gas that passes in and out of pores in solids and liquids) and a low water content, which is suitable for biomass power generation.

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Not only is the money turned into power, the remaining ash is made into bricks which ensures sustainable and harmless disposal. It means China is literally building houses with money-made walls.