Coal from biomass
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces have developed a process enabling the direct production of coal from biomass.
Markus Antonietti and his group successfully managed to develop a method originally intended to produce carbon nano-particles so that it could be used for commercial coal production. Such coal could be used for heating purposes and might be used for electricity or even gasoline production. The 70 million tonnes of biomass that Germany produces every year would be sufficient to cover much of the country's energy needs.
But there is even more potential to this process: If the reaction is stopped earlier, the result is topsoil. This nutrient-rich earth can be used to help barren landscapes bloom, without debiting the carbon dioxide balance.