Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Going Bananas For Sustainable Research: Scientists Create Fuel From African Crop Waste

Date:
April 8, 2009
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
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 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.

Scientists have developed new, simple methods of producing banana briquettes that could be burnt for cooking and heating.
Credit: iStockphoto/Denis Pepin

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.

Related Articles


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!”

To see how Joel makes his banana briquettes, watch the video at http://www.test-tube.org.uk/videos/pages_joel_bananas.htm


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nottingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Going Bananas For Sustainable Research: Scientists Create Fuel From African Crop Waste." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406132819.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2009, April 8). Going Bananas For Sustainable Research: Scientists Create Fuel From African Crop Waste. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406132819.htm
University of Nottingham. "Going Bananas For Sustainable Research: Scientists Create Fuel From African Crop Waste." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090406132819.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) An hour before an apparent gas explosion sent flames soaring and debris flying at a Manhattan apartment building, injuring 19 people, utility company inspectors decided the work being done there was faulty. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) Facebook on Thursday revealed more details about its Internet-connected drone project. The drone is bigger than a 737, but lighter than a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Witnesses recount the sites and sounds of a massive explosion and subsequent building collapse in the heart of Manhattan&apos;s trendy East Village on Thursday. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins