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Waste leaves to heat homes

A new product uses fallen leaves to create a biomass fuel as a sustainable alternative to coal and wood.

The Leaf Log created by BioFuels International co-director Peter Morrison compresses naturally fallen waste leaves into a cylinder, which can then be burned for up to three hours. The leaves, which would otherwise go to landfill, are collected and processed at the factory in Nechells.
Morrison said: Its a frustration many people can relate to. You can compost waste leaves, but that releases unwanted methane.

Burning them only emits the same amount of carbon the leaves absorbed during the summer, adding nothing extra to the environment. But it generates a lot of smoke so I decided to look for a way of harnessing that energy in a more user friendly way.

Morrison thought of the idea while clearing leaves from his own driveway three years ago after he did not know what to do with them. Experimenting with the fuel in his kitchen led him to discovering a 50 pence sized pellet of leaf waste could boil a litre of water as it burned. The idea then grew into the current business with help from local business support services and the universities of Warwick and Stafford.

Leaf Log uses waste leaves sourced from stockpiles collected by local authorities in Birmingham, Walsall and Sandwell and it also has agreements with Birminghams two universities, Bournville College and Sutton Park and one of the largest nature parks in Europe.

Presently, around five million tonnes of leaves fall across the UK annually with the majority collected and ending up in landfill.

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