While dry farm waste such as wood chips or sawdust are easier to use for generating power, scientists have struggled to find uses for wet waste as the materials break down before reaching their destination.

Cooking farm waste yields compact, easily transportable material that would not degrade and can be used in energy-producing plants, the findings showed.

"This means is that we have a resource in farm waste that is readily available, can produce energy at a similar level to burning coal, and does not require any significant start-up costs," said Animesh Dutta, professor at the University of Guelph in Canada.

"We are taking what is now a negative resource in farm waste, which farmers have to pay to remove, and providing an opportunity for them to make money and help the environment," Dutta added.

"It is a closed-loop cycle, meaning we don't have to worry about external costs," Datta said.

Large pressure cookers located near farms could accept and cook waste for transport to energy plants, the researchers proposed.

Using the new technique, the researchers produced a small amount of energy in the laboratory that has less alkali and alkaline earth metals, allowing it to be used at power plants.

"The next step is to take this outside of the lab. Essentially, the agri-food sector could power the automotive industry," said Dutta.

The study appeared in the journal Applied Energy.

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