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From plate to engine: French city powers buses with food scraps

by Staff Writers
Lille, France (AFP) Sept 19, 2007
The French city of Lille is to power a 100-strong bus fleet using biogas fuel made from organic household waste, thanks to a pioneering recycling plant unveiled on Wednesday.

In a project unique in Europe, the plant will supply the northern city with four million cubic metres of eco-friendly biogas per year -- enough to power 100 buses -- produced from food scraps, weeds, flowers and grass clippings.

It is to start supplying the city's existing fleet of natural gas-powered buses later this year, and is to be fully operational by end 2008, handling 108,600 tonnes of green waste per year.

"There is no more accomplished example of using a local resource to power a local fleet. The cycle is complete," said Eric Quiquet, an urbanism official at Lille city hall.

France's fourth largest city, with a population of 1.1 million people, Lille has been an early adopter of green urban technologies.

Biogas, produced by decomposing organic material via a process called biomethanisation, emits far less carbon dioxide than traditional fossil fuels. Sweden launched the world's first biogas-fulled train in 2005.

A 150-strong bus depot has been built next to Lille's Centre for Organic Recovery, to provide a direct fuel supply.

The country's only biogas fuel plant is also equipped to transfer non-recyclable waste via local waterways for incineration at a nearby energy-optimisation centre.

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Chad president to hold Darfur talks in China
N'Djamena (AFP) Sept 18, 2007
Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno is to discuss the Darfur conflict and sign oil and gas deals during a four-day visit to China starting Wednesday, Chadian officials said.

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