Excellent news for all of us worried about clean energy and those of us who hate tomatoes (why? what have they ever done to you?): New research suggests that wasted tomatoes (those that have just been discarded instead of consumed or used to throw at others) could actually provide enough energy to power Disney World. In fact, Florida’s wasted tomatoes alone could power the park for at least 90 days. Would the entire place smell like marinara? Maybe, but doesn’t that just add to the magic?
Grub Street reports that Floridians waste approximately 396,000 pounds of tomatoes annually. Now, we could just leave those tomatoes in the garbage and pretend they never existed, or we could do something with them. A team of scientists, who have developed a “microbial electrochemical cell,” with tomato power in mind have discovered a way in which to turn all those unloved tomatoes (fondly referred to as “tomato waste”) into an electric current. According to researchers, this is a “powerful source of energy,” which could mean that pretty soon tomatoes will become so highly prized that they’ll stop appearing on lunch menus and we’ll be fighting for them in stores. (Probably not, but fun to think about, right? Would humans go to war over tomato supplies? Absolutely.)
It works by having bacteria interact with the waste, which then releases electrons that are captured in the fuel cell and used as a source of electricity. The change to a tomato-powered world won’t happen right away, as the 10 milligrams of tomato waste can only generate a third of a watt of electricity. However, scientists are hopeful that more research could increase electrical output and that they’ve found a really good use for something that would otherwise just end up in landfills.
Yes! Perfect! Take this and run with it, scientists! Start using fruits and vegetables for what they were really meant for. And while you’re powering Disneyland with tomato waste, why not develop a guilt free cookie that tastes delicious and also has zero calories? And trust us: No one’s going to be upset if the future smells like pasta sauce. That’s the utopia we’ve all been envisioning anyway.