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Luoyang, a city with money to burn

China's energy sector is flush with cash


According to a Xinhua news agency report, China’s energy sector has plenty of red-hot money to burn. A power plant in Luoyang City, in central China’s Henan Province, is using old banknotes rather than coal as fuel for its furnaces which provide power for the city and region’s residents.

In China, banknotes are taken out of circulation once they’ve become worn out or damaged. It’s not known how much mutilated currency is taken out of circulation every year, but apparently, one ton of the damaged paper money can contribute to the generation of 660 kilowatt hours of electricity, with reduced emissions when compared to coal.

Luoyang marks the first case in China where the money has been used for electricity generation. Typically, when paper money has become so damaged it is no longer fit for circulation on China’s markets, it is sent to the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the mainland’s central bank. Here the damaged notes are then distributed to companies authorized by the PBoC, who handle their destruction. Normally each note is recycled and reused to help form new paper products.

The PBoC has authorized the power plant to go ahead with their unusual energy source, which “can help generate 1.32 million kWh of electricity annually, which is equal to burning 4,000 tonnes of coal”, a member of staff at the PBoC told Xinhua.

As the BBC reported, the idea of setting fire to the city’s cash has amused Chinese social media users:

“Burning money? Luoyang is such a rich city!” says one Weibo user, while another person writes: “I’m willing to go a year without electricity, please give me a pile of cash!”

But one user has a craftier suggestion: “Hire me as an employee, I promise I won’t take any money.”


Image courtesy of The Daily Mail

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