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Indian-origin scientists reveal tomato waste can generate electricity

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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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Study Reveals Solar Cells Can Retain Most Of Their Power Conversion Efficiency in Near Space

In the study, researchers from China's Peking University sent the devices fixed with PSCs into near space on a high-altitude balloon.

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solar energy
Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) are known for their potential of achieving higher efficiency and low production costs compared to traditional silicon solar cells. Pixabay

Chinese researchers have found that solar cells can retain most of their power conversion efficiency in near space, providing perspectives on the cells’ future application in space.

Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) are known for their potential of achieving higher efficiency and low production costs compared to traditional silicon solar cells.

These cells also have great potential for developing the new-generation energy technology for space application, but little research has been done to test the stability of PSCs in the extreme space environment, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the study, researchers from China’s Peking University sent the devices fixed with PSCs into near space on a high-altitude balloon.

energy
These cells also have great potential for developing the new-generation energy technology for space application, but little research has been done to test the stability of PSCs in the extreme space environment, Xinhua news agency reported. Piixabay

The balloon rose to near space at an altitude of 35 km, a region above Earth’s atmosphere where there is only a trace amount of moisture and ozone.

The region, considered to have “air mass zero” contains no atmospheric attenuation of solar radiation and therefore several high-energy particles and radiation, such as neutrons, electrons and gamma rays, originate from the galactic cosmic rays and solar flares.

solar cells
Chinese researchers have found that solar cells can retain most of their power conversion efficiency in near space, providing perspectives on the cells’ future application in space.
Pixabay

Also Read: Know About The Psychologists Team Helping To Prevent Farmers’ Suicides in Parts of Telangana

According to the findings, one type of PSCs used in the study retained more than 95 per cent of its initial power conversion efficiency during the test, the researchers reported in the journal Science China Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy.

They said the study is expected to play a crucial role in the future stability research of PSCs. (IANS)