The US Army plans to illuminate barracks and run laptops in Iraq using the power of rubbish by deploying four-ton biomass refineries to the country.

The refineries, designed to turn piles of trash into electricity, can run for 20 hours on a ton of waste, producing enough power to light a small village, writes the Associated Press.

Set to undergo a six-month test in a combat zone, the machines will face temperatures of up to 120° and the risk of breakdowns.

The machines were built by defence contractors and scientists at Purdue University and are due to arrive in the Bagdad area in early May this year.

By staff writer