Trend Alert: Food - Want not, Waste Not
David Taylor, Strategic Futures Analyst, Collaborative Connections
Food, which has
largely been taken for granted in the developed world over the last few
decades, is now a major global talking point, and not just because of the
rising price of it. New technology is currently being commercialised to make
sure that food which is not wanted, is no longer wasted.
Gordon Brown recently announced a campaign
to help reduce
Britain's waste food mountains as reports of food riots in the
developing world, and rising food prices in the West have begun to weigh on
consumer consciences and pockets. As part of this campaign, supermarkets will
be urged to drop "three for two" deals on food that encourage
shoppers into bulk-buying more than they need, often leading to the surpluses
being thrown away. Gordon Brown postulated that "unnecessary"
purchases were contributing to price rises, and urged people to plan meals in
advance and store food properly.
Research into using bacteria to produce hydrogen has been revived thanks to the rising profile of energy issues, with hydrogen having three times more potential energy by weight than petrol, making it the highest energy-content fuel available. With nearly 7 million tonnes of food going to waste in the UK alone every year, a bioreactor disposal system could not only reduce the green house gases produced by landfills, but also produce the much cleaner hydrogen. According to researchers, with a more advanced pre-treatment, biohydrogen can even be produced from the waste from food-crop cultivation, such as corn stalks and husks - millions of tonnes of which are produced each year.
For the producers of hydrogen cars this may mean cheaper bio-hydrogen which could result in a massive boom in clean transport, reducing the need for biofuels, increasing the proportion of food crops and therefore bringing prices down… hypothetically. What is more certain is that diverting bio-waste from landfill into biohydrogen production addresses both climate change and energy security, and in so doing, creating a much more efficient "cradle to cradle" process.
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