Cocoa Power to the Rescue

lindtbilde

Bio-fuels have been bantered about for decades as an alternative to oil, gas and coal. But now the trend is entering odd — and oddly tasty — new levels. This month saw the first tests of a new power plant fueled with a mix of coal and cocoa bean shells!

The shells — which result from conventional chocolate production — were added to the mix at the Portsmouth, NH-based Schiller Station.

Eighteen tons of the stuff (see above) were test-fired — mostly to see if the plant’s machinery can literally grind the hard cocoa coating.

The experiment marked an important milestone for New Hampshire’s public utilities and Swiss chocolatier Lindt, whose American base in located in nearby Stratham, NH.

In 2010, a new Lindt facility in New Hampshire will finally allow the confectioner to roast its chocolate beans on site and in the USA. Currently, the beans are roasted in Switzerland and sent to the US for processing. The cocoa and coal-powered plant is a solution Lindt is embracing for the tons of left-over cocoa shells that will begin to appear next year.

The plan is clearly a step in the right direction, though our friends over at Shankblog report all is not merry in cocoa-land. With the cocoa/coal mix using 33 times more coal than cocoa, green activists suggest its positive impact on the environment may not be very sweet after all.

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