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Technisches Englisch

Generating electricity with tomato waste


Elektrotechniker sollten englischsprachige Dokumentationen und Pläne lesen können. Dieser Beitrag erleichtert den Zugang zur englischen Sprache und vermittelt elektrotechnische Fachausdrücke.

396.000 Tonnen Tomatenabfälle, die in Florida jährlich anfallen, können möglicherweise bald wie schon in einem Pilotprojekt als Basis für eine Brennstoffzelle, die elektrischen Strom erzeugt, dienen. A team of scientists is exploring an unusual source of electricity – damaged tomatoes that are unsuitable for sale at the grocery store. Their pilot project involves a biological-based fuel cell that uses tomato waste left over from harvests in Florida. The researchers presented their work at the 251st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). “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,” says Namita Shrestha, who is working on the project. “The process also helps purify the tomato-contaminated solid waste and associated waste water.” Shrestha is a graduate student in the lab of Venkataramana Gadhamshetty, Ph.D., P. E ., at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. They are collaborating on this project with Alex Fogg, an undergraduate chemistry major at Princeton University. Other project collaborators include Daniel Franco, Joseph Wilder and Simeon Komisar, Ph.D., at Florida Gulf Coast University. Tomatoes are a key crop in Florida, notes Gadhamshetty. He stresses that the project is important to the state because Florida generates 396,000 tons of tomato waste every year, but lacks a good treatment process. Gadhamshetty began working on the topic as a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. “We wanted to find a way to treat this waste that, when dumped in landfills, can produce methane – a powerful greenhouse gas – and when dumped in water bodies, can create major water treatment problems.” The team developed a microbial electrochemical cell that can exploit tomato waste to generate electric current. Shrestha explains, “Microbial electrochemical cells use bacteria to break down and oxidize organic material in defective tomatoes.” 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 natural lycopene pigment in tomatoes, the researchers have found, is an excellent mediator to encourage the generation of electrical charges from the damaged fruits. Some of their results proved to be counterintuitive. “Typical biotechnological applications require, or at least perform better, when using pure chemicals, compared to wastes,” Gadhamshetty notes. “However, we found that electrical performance using defective tomatoes was equal or better than using pure substrates. These wastes can be a rich source of indigenous redox mediators and carbon, as well as electrons.” At the moment, the power output from their device is quite small: 10 milligrams of tomato waste can result in 0.3 watts of electricity. But the researchers note that with an expected scale up and more research, electrical output could be increased by several orders of magnitude. According to calculations by Shrestha, there is theoretically enough tomato waste generated in Florida each year to meet Disney World’s electricity demand for 90 days, using an optimized biological fuel cell.
They plan to improve the cell by determining which of its parts – electrode, electricity-producing bacteria, biological film, wiring – are resisting the flow of electricity. Then they will tweak or replace that part.

Source: American Chemical Society; Science Daily Vocabulary
according tolaut, zufolge
associated  verbunden, zugeordnet, assoziiert
calculation    Rechnung
capture  erfassen, fangen, erbeuten
contaminate    kontaminieren, verunreinigen
counterintuitive  nicht eingängig, nicht intuitiv, kontraintuitiv
crop    Ernte, Ernteertrag
damaged beschädigt
device   Gerät
dump  entladen, verklappen, entsorgen, auskippen
encourage  ermutigen
enough  genügend, ausreichend
generate generieren, erzeugen
graduate studentDiplomstudent, Absolvent, Doktorand

grocery store    Lebensmittelladen
harvest  Ernte
however jedoch
improve    verbessern
indigenousheimisch, indigen
lab (= laboratory)Labor
lack  mangeln, fehlen
landfill (Müll-)Deponie
lycopene Lycopin, Leukopin (in Tomaten und Hagebutten vorkommender Stoff; verleiht die rote Farbe)

microbial    mikrobiell, mikrobisch
order of magnitudeGrößenordnung
P. E. (USA = professional engineer)lizensierter Ingenieur
Ph.D.    Doktortitel, Dr.
prove to be  sich erweisen als, sich zeigen als
purify  reinigen, läutern
redox mediator   Redox-Mediator löst eine Redox- bzw. Reduktions-Oxidations-Reaktion aus, bei der ein Reaktionspartner Elektronen auf den andern überträgt)
require  benötigen, erfordern
researcher Forscher
resist  widerstehen, standhalten
scale up vergrößern, heraufsetzen
solid waste    Feststoffabfall
spoiled verdorben
treatment      Behandlung, Bearbeitung
trigger  anstoßen, auslösen, bewirken
tweak      zwicken, hier: optimieren

undergraduate chemistry majorChemiestudent
unsuitable for salezum Verkauf ungeeignet




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Autor: P. Zillmer Lesen Sie den Artikel in unserem Facharchiv.