Spanish Testing Out Olive Pit Power

Could olive power enter into the world's alternative energy equation? Spanish company Calordom thinks so; they're responsible for powering more than 300 buildings in Madrid on energy extracted from olive pits. Spain is the world's largest producer of olives, and they hope this innovation will raise hopes that olives will become an alternative source of cheap power. "The energy is 100 percent non-polluting, a kilo (2.2 pounds) of burnt olive cores, in reality wood compressed in a natural fashion, emits the same quantity of carbon gas as they would if you just left them to rot," says Calordom head Juan Cabello. Local ecologists aren't so sure, as concerns grow that combustion of biomass on a large scale would not be as clean as advertised. As the popularity of the new energy source continues to grow, detractors are worried that scaling up the process would lead to "high utilisation of fuel-derived fertiliser, utilisation of high fuel consumption machines and, in that case, the energy balance is no longer positive," explains Sara Pizzinato from Greenpeace. Hmm. We're a bit skeptical that olives are the next big thing in energy, but that doesn't make this process any less innovative or cool, and it seems that using pits for power sure beats throwing them out, at least on a small scale. We don't think there is one huge alternative energy catch-all that will make oil obsolete, so the diversification of alternatives is good to see, even if it is with something as random and regional as olive pits. ::Yahoo news via ::AlternativeSource.org