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Fuel Starts Going Bananas [VIDEO]
By Trish Smith | August 02, 2012
Bananas have been good to us as a food source, but can they be even better to us as a fuel source?
In the 20th century, bananas were one of the most important export crops for Central American countries. They were also the most widely harvested crop in many developing countries, and were equal to the popularity of the potato in the U.S. But despite being a main staple in foreign countries, Americans have also come to love bananas. We have used them for banana splits, banana chips, banana nut bread, banana pudding and so much more. They have been good to us as a food source, but can they be even better to us as a fuel source? Some people have already answered that question!
Recently, scientists at the University of Nottingham have helped turn excess banana crops into burnable briquettes that can be used to cook food. The scientists realized that because of the world’s demand for firewood, there were barely any trees left in developing countries to burn for fuel. But there were lots of banana crops, and if they could reuse the banana waste as fuel, it would greatly help the survival of rate of people in these countries.
So, how did PhD student Joel Chaney make burnable briquettes with the banana waste? Here’s a video on the process:
Mashed the banana skins and leaves to a pulp
Mixed the pulp with sawdust or sun-dried banana stems
Compressed the mixture into a brick shape
Baked the bricks
Once the banana bricks were baked, they were ready to be used as fuel! Not only do these bricks save villagers the trouble of having to forage for firewood, but they are also cheaper than traditional fuel sources, which is great for poorer countries.
Here's a video showing how the briquettes are made.
Using bananas as a fuel source was also practiced a few years ago in Australia. In 2008 Growcom, one of the leading horticulture advocates in Australia, created a processing plant that transformed banana waste into biomethane. This biomethane was then used to power natural gas vehicles.
So, is society going bananas too soon over the idea of banana waste as fuel, or is this a truly clever idea that could help save trees and people around the world? I think both!
Source: Science Daily
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