Thursday, September 15, 2005

BERLIN (Reuters) — A German inventor says he has found a way to produce crude oil from garbage, and it definitely doesn’t include cats. But maybe a frog.

Christian Koch, 55, the inventor, says he can transform paper, trash and plastic into fuel. That was the good news. The bad news, which Mr. Koch says was the kind of rubbish he can’t use, was splashed across the pages of Bild, a leading German newspaper: “German inventor can turn cats into fuel — for a tank he needs 20 cats.”

“I use paper, plastics, textiles and rubbish,” Mr. Koch says. “It’s an alternative fuel that is friendly for the environment. But it’s complete nonsense to suggest dead cats. I’ve never used cats and would never think of that. At most, the odd toad may have jumped in.”

The newspaper, unabashed, followed up its first story yesterday with another, headlined: “Can you really make fuel out of cats?”

A spokesman for the newspaper says its first story was meant to show that cats could, “in theory,” be transformed into fuel with Mr. Koch’s patented method. The reporter says Mr. Koch never had actually told him that he had used dead cats, as the story implied.

The controversy over cats all but overshadowed Mr. Koch’s claim that his patented “KDV 500” machine could produce the “bio-diesel” fuel at $1.20 a gallon, about one-fifth the price at gasoline stations now.

“I drive my normal diesel-powered car with this mixture,” Mr. Koch was quoted by the newspaper. “I have gone [106,000 miles] without a problem.” The claim was illustrated by a photograph of a kitten.

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