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Going nuts? Turkey looks to pistachios to heat new eco-city

Going nuts? Turkey looks to pistachios to heat new eco-city

Pistachios are already a key ingredient in Turkish baklava, but the country may now have found a new way to exploit the nuts known as "green gold" – by using their shells to heat a new eco-city.


Friday 2 May 2014, 04:11PM

Officials are currently examining plans to build the country's first ecological city with buildings both private and public heated by burning pistachio shells.

And there can be few better locations for such a project than Gaziantep – the southeastern region close to the Syrian border which produces thousands of tonnes of the nut every year.

“Gaziantep's potential in pistachio production is known, as well as its considerable amount of pistachio shells waste,” said Seda Muftuoglu Gulec, a green building expert for the municipality.

"We are planning to obtain biogas, a kind of renewable energy, from burning pistachio shells," Gulec continued.

"We thought the ecological city could be heated by burning pistachio shells because when you plan such environment-friendly systems, you take a look at natural resources you have," she said.


The pistachio-heated new city would encompass 3,200 hectares, and house 200,000 people. It would be located 11 kilometres from the province's capital city, also named Gaziantep.

If the project bears fruit, pistachio shells formerly regarded as waste could become a new form of energy.

Turkey is one of the world's biggest producers of pistachios, along with Iran, the United States and Syria, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Last year, it exported 6,800 tonnes of the nut, generating approximately US$80 million (B2.6 billion) in income. Gaziantep alone exported 4,000 tonnes last year, Mehmet Kahraman, from the union said. AFP

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