Navigation Links
Going bananas for sustainable research -- scientists create fuel from African crop waste

Bananas are a staple crop of Rwanda. The fruit is eaten raw, fried and baked it even produces banana beer and wine. Around 2 million tons are grown each year but the fruit is only a small percentage of what the plant produces. The rest skins, leaves and stems is left to rot as waste.

Now scientists at The University of Nottingham are looking at ways to use that waste to produce fuel, developing simple methods of producing banana briquettes that could be burnt for cooking and heating. PhD student Joel Chaney in the Faculty of Engineering has developed a method of producing the briquettes using minimal tools and technology, which could be used in communities all over Africa.

First, the banana skins and leaves are mashed to a pulp in a hand-operated domestic meat mincer. This pulp is mixed with sawdust to create a mouldable material in Rwanda it would be mixed with sun dried banana stems, ensuring the whole plant is used.

Then, the pulp mix is compressed into briquette shapes and baked in an oven at 105 degrees. Again, in Africa the fuel would be left for a few days to dry in the sun.

Once dried, the briquettes form an ideal fuel, burning with a consistent steady heat suitable for cooking. Joel has tested this himself by cooking fried banana fritters, which is similar to "red-red" a popular Ghanaian dish.

"A big problem in the developing world is firewood," said Joel. "Huge areas of land are deforested every year, which leads to the land being eroded. People need fuel to cook and stay warm but they can't afford the more expensive types, like gas.

"As well as the environmental damage this causes, it also takes a lot of time. Women can spend four or five hours a day just collecting firewood. If an alternative fuel could be found they could spend this time doing other things even generating an income.

"Using waste to create fuel is key to sustainable development, and this method could be easily transferred across Africa."

Joel's supervisor Dr Mike Clifford, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering, is working on a number of sustainable materials and technologies including yak wool, recycled banknotes, waste cardboard and vernonia oil a naturally occurring resin found in Ethiopian plants.

"Joel's work on biomass briquetting is very interesting. We've been able to turn all sorts of waste materials into fuel and to predict how well different mixtures of materials will burn. I'm looking forward to some sunny weather so I can try the banana briquettes out at home on my barbeque!"


Contact: Dr. Mike Clifford
University of Nottingham

Related biology news :

1. Lobster traps going high tech
2. New infant feeding and obesity research adds insight to ongoing issue
3. How mirror neurons allow us to learn and socialize by going through the motions in the head
4. 70 years old and going strong with Down syndrome and no dementia
5. National Zoo scimitar-horned oryx going into the wild
6. Going live with click chemistry
7. Georgia goes bananas
8. Blue bananas
9. Biofuels can provide viable, sustainable solution to reducing petroleum dependence
10. Biggest ever public investment in bioenergy to help provide clean, green and sustainable fuels
11. New publishing partnership for Energy for Sustainable Development
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/18/2015)... -- As new scientific discoveries deepen our understanding of how ... face challenges in better using that knowledge to guide ... more children continue to survive pediatric cancer, that counseling ... John M. Maris, M.D ., a pediatric ... . --> John M. Maris, M.D ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 2015 Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) ("PBI" ... sale of broadly enabling, pressure cycling technology ("PCT")-based sample ... announced it has received gross proceeds of $745,000 from ... (the "Offering"), increasing the total amount raised to date ... closings are expected in the near future. ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... 2015   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical ... is pleased to announce that it will be a Sponsor ... event, to be held November 17-19 in Hamburg ... demonstrations of iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven ... has been able to deliver time and cost savings ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)...  An interventional radiology technique shows promise for helping morbidly ... a study being presented today at the annual meeting of ... (RSNA). --> --> ... radiologists as a way to stop bleeding in emergency situations, ... of treating obesity is new. Mubin Syed , ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... includes an MPP licen c ... , s Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN) Technology ; Aims ... through cost cuts of priority ... anywhere in the world will have the right to make, use and distribute lower ... licensees based anywhere in the world will have the right to make, use and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015 Harvard Apparatus ... a biotechnology company developing bioengineered organ implants for ... notification from The NASDAQ Stock Market that it ... requirements. The letter noted that as a result ... stock having exceeded $1.00 per share for more ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: SPEX ) an ... and monetization of intellectual property, today provided an ... to create shareholder value. Anthony ... on published reports, the total addressable market of ... Spherix will seek to secure fair and reasonable ...
Breaking Biology Technology: