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Indian-origin scientists reveal tomato waste can generate electricity

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Image source: blogspot.com

New York: A study involving Indian-origin scientists revealed that damaged tomatoes unsuitable for sale can be used as a powerful source of generating electricity.

“We have found that spoiled and damaged tomatoes left over from harvest can be a particularly powerful source of energy when used in a biological or microbial electrochemical cell,” said Namita Shrestha from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

“The process also helps purify the tomato-contaminated solid waste and associated waste water,” added Shrestha, who is working on the project with Venkataramana Gadhamshetty, an assistant professor at South Dakota and Alex Fogg, an undergraduate chemistry major at Princeton University.

The research findings were presented at the 251st National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society held in California’s San Diego city on Wednesday.

“The project began a few years ago when Alex visited my lab in Fort Myers, Florida, and said he was interested in researching a local problem, especially local tomatoes grown in our state and the large waste treatment issue,” Gadhamshetty said.

Tomatoes are a key crop in Florida. The project is important to the state because Florida generates 396,000 tonnes of tomato waste every year, but lacks a good treatment process.

The team developed a microbial electrochemical cell that can exploit tomato waste to generate electric current.

“Microbial electrochemical cells use bacteria to break down and oxidise organic material in defective tomatoes,” Shrestha explained.

The oxidation process, triggered by the bacteria interacting with tomato waste, releases electrons that are captured in the fuel cell and become a source of electricity.

The power output from the team’s device is quite small — 10 mg of tomato waste can result in 0.3 watts of electricity. But the researchers note that with an expected scale up and more research, the electrical output could be increased by several orders of magnitude. (IANS)

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IG Smart Environment: All You Need To Know

If you keep your home at the same temperature all day, you have an opportunity to improve your energy consumption

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LED light bulbs are environment friendly and also helps in reducing electricity bills. Pixabay
  • High electricity bills are everyone’s problem
  • There are certain ways in which one can reduce their energy consumption
  • One of the ways is to use LEDs

Are you feeling like your energy bills are a bit too high? Or have you gotten used to paying more than you should be? With a few simple changes around the house, you can reduce your energy consumption significantly. This is excellent for the environment, but it’s also good for your checkbook. Look into a couple of simple practices, such as replacing inefficient light bulbs, to make your home a better place.

There are ways in which one can save themselves from high electricity bills. Wikimedia Commons

If you’re running incandescent bulbs, you’re using more energy than necessary. LED light bulbs are the superior choice. They use 75 percent less energy compared to their incandescent counterparts, and they last 2.5 times longer. The reduced energy use is good for your home and for the planet — widespread use of LEDs could save up to 348 TWh of energy by 2027. That’s a projected cost savings of $30 million. Once you have your new LEDs installed, consider how you manage your home’s HVAC system.

Also Read: Indian Scientist makes a Cell that can produce Electricity from Water, also seeks Commercialisation of Invention

If you keep your home at the same temperature all day, you have an opportunity to improve your energy consumption. Install a programmable thermostat so you can lower the temperature while you’re out of the house and raise it back on your way home. If you can adjust the temperature by roughly 10 degrees for at least eight hours a day, you can reduce your energy consumption by 10 percent. These are a couple of simple changes, but they’ll make a big difference. Other cost-saving, environmentally conscious tips for better home management are outlined in the following infographic.

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