Who would have ever thought that tomatoes could be a source of electricity? Newsweek recently reported that the 400,000 tons of ‘damaged’ tomatoes grown in Florida each year could provide enough electricity to run Disney World for 3 months. Sounds Goofy (pun very much intended).
There are research projects that, purely on the surface, seem off the wall. However, the ability to take an idea, understand the processes, work through the difficulties and come up with a new, viable solution is exactly what science is all about. I have never before heard of a microbial electrochemical cell, but that is what they are using to convert tomato waste into electricity. Gills Onions has an anaerobic digester at their facility turning onion waste into methane gas that feeds fuel cells which are producing over $700,000 worth of electricity annually.
Science and engineering deliver new technology to the masses from pilot projects spawned from what seem like ridiculous ideas. We need to fully embrace the opportunities afforded to us by these pioneers in creativity.