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.

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 August 2, 2014 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 August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) The deal will help build a massive battery factory that Tesla says will produce 500,000 lithium batteries by 2020. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 30, 2014) Fresh breath and clean teeth are great, but have you ever thought, "my toothpaste could be doing more". Well, it can! Lots of things! Howdini has 7 new uses for this household staple. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Cycle World (July 30, 2014) The Bonnier Motorcycle Group presents Smoked; a three part video series. In this episode the 2015 Ducati Diavel takes on the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Video provided by Cycle World
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:
from the past week

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