China’s economic growth may be cooling down but the energy sector has plenty of money to burn. A power plant in Luoyang City, in the country’s central Henan province, is using old banknotes rather than coal as fuel for its furnaces and to provide power for the region. According to reports from the official Xinhua news agency, a tonne of blazing banknotes can help contribute 660 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy and generates far less pollution than the fossil fuel traditionally used –a bonus in a country notorious for smog in its cities. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, has approved incinerating the banknotes according to Xinhua, and this is the first time they have been used as fuel. “With Henan’s current unused paper money counted, the company can help generate 1.32 million kWh of electricity annually, which is equal to burning 4,000 tonnes of coal,” a PBOC source told Xinhua. China is not alone in having money to burn. The Bank of England destroys billions of pounds worth of banknotes every year as they become worn out. Each year the Bank receives about 700m tonnes of notes that have been withdrawn from circulation. Until 1990 all of the notes returned by members Bank’s Note Circulation Scheme – wholesale cash operators including G4S Cash Solutions, the Post Office, Royal bank of Scotland and Barclays-HSBC joint venture Vaultex – were incinerated and the energy produced was used to heat the Bank.
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