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Chocolate-based fuel and plant fiber car - A new wave of eco-friendly innovation

Friday, August 17, 2012 by: Carolanne Wright
Tags: eco-fuel, plant fibers, automobile

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(NaturalNews) Chocolate is not just a pleasurable treat anymore. Researchers in the UK have discovered a way to convert waste produced from chocolate manufacturing into viable eco-fuel. Whether environmentally friendly biodiesel or hydrogen for fuel cells, both can now be produced using chocolate factory refuge. Taken a step further, a semi-biodegradable Formula 3 race car has been designed to run off this unique fuel.

A team of scientists in Britain have harnessed the unlikely fuel source of waste caramel and nougat from chocolate manufacturer Cadbury Schweppes. As part of the experiment, Escherichia coli bacteria were fed the sweet left-overs from the factory. The bacteria then belched out hydrogen gas after a process of sugar fermentation and conversion of formic acid. This surprising source of hydrogen was subsequently used to power a small fan via fuel cell technology. As a highly efficient source of energy, fuel cells have a zero emission rate when used with hydrogen. Professor Lynne Macaskie, who lead the study at the University of Birmingham observed:

"Although only at its initial stages, we've demonstrated a hydrogen-producing, waste-reducing technology that, for example, might be scaled-up in 5-10 years' time for industrial electricity generation and waste treatment processes."

With such an innovative approach to renewable energy, both industry and the environment benefit. The process is not only limited to chocolate waste. The entire food industry could conceivably use their own waste as a clean source of energy for manufacturing, thereby revolutionizing electricity consumption and waste management.

Chocolate-based fuel powers plant fiber car

Partially constructed of plant fibers and powered by biodiesel, an extraordinary race car has been developed at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. A few of the eco-friendly materials that make up the car include: soybean oil foam and recycled polyester seats; plant-based lubricants; recycled bottles for the side pod; a steering wheel made of cellulosic fibers from carrot juice pulp; molded potato starch and flax fiber front wing and mirrors. The car is fueled by 30 percent biodiesel derived from chocolate waste. James Meredith, who oversaw the project, remarks, "Anything with a fat in it can be turned into diesel, and that's what we've managed to do." Currently, Formula 3 rules forbid chocolate-based biodiesel fuel, but the team hopes to overcome this obstacle soon.

Sources for this article include:

"Sweet! The Chocolate-Powered Hydrogen Fuel Cell" Warren McLaren, Treehugger, June 1, 2006. Retrieved on August 13, 2012 from: http://www.treehugger.com

"An Eco-Racecar That Runs on Chocolate" Jim Motavalli, New York Times, April 22, 2009. Retrieved on August 13, 2012 from: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com

"Will Chocolate Fuel Your Next Car?" Larry West, Environmental Issues at About.com. Retrieved on August 13, 2012 from: http://environment.about.com/od/renewableenergy/a/chocolatefuel.htm

"8 Alternative Fuels That Could Replace Oil" Jim Motavalli, The Daily Green. Retrieved on August 13, 2012 from: http://www.thedailygreen.com

"Fuel Cells: Environmental Benefits" Sierra Club. Retrieved on August 13, 2012 from: http://www.sierraclubgreenhome.com/fuel-cell/fuel-cells-eco-benefits/

"Fuel Cell Benefits" National Fuel Cell Research Center, University of California, Irvine. Retrieved on August 13, 2012 from: http://www.nfcrc.uci.edu

About the author:
Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, wellness coach and natural foods chef, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.

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