Australians Kick Some Renewable-Energy Butt

Those Australians are busy bees these days! One team of Aussie researchers has announced that within seven years it will be able to produce hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water, in a process that has no moving parts and produces no pollutants. “This is potentially huge, with a market the size of all the existing markets for coal, oil, and gas combined,” said project leader Janusz Nowotny. But enough about revolutionary, world-changing energy developments. Let’s talk about bananas! Aussie researchers have come up with a plan for a power plant fueled entirely by the modest yellow fruit, which is produced in abundance in Australia; currently, tons of surplus bananas — ones that are too small or green — go to waste. The process involves allowing the fruit to rot and harvesting the resultant methane gas. But engineer Bill Clarke acknowledges that it is unclear whether bananas would be “a cost-effective energy source,” as it currently takes more than 130 pounds of fruity goodness to run a household appliance for 30 hours.