Though it may not be the most efficient process, Russia scientists have reportedly discovered a way to pull one gram of gold from one ton of coal, according to state-run site Sputnik on Monday.
Alchemy, a medieval form of chemistry that sought to turn other metals into the soft valuable metal, has often been panned but the scientists from the Scientific Center of Amur, located to the northeast of China, may have found a process by which to flip the heavy-pollutant coal.
The report states over the last 15 years scientists examined and analyzed coal deposits in the Amur River region, a natural border between Russia and China that stretches more than 1,700 miles, and found for every one ton of coal lies a roughly a gram of gold.
For now, the process is still in the experimental phase but next year it could be ready for commercial use, according to the Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy Services.
"Both useful and useless components subside on the filters of the installation. If it catches even half of all coal passing through — it will be half a gram per ton, let's say, so it is easy to count, what an economic benefit it will be. Burn 1 ton – get 1,500 rubles (about $23)," general director of LLC Complex innovative technology Amur scientific center Oleg Ageev said.
After an extensive filtration system that involves filters securing the gold from the smoke caused by burned coal, it’s refined even further and if true it certainly creates a new usage for a fossil fuel that’s one of the worst polluters in the world.
In the U.S., coal powers 44 percent of the country’s electricity but it’s also the worst air polluter, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. And, according to 2012 figures, a single plant can burn 1.4 million tons of coal every year.