I planted pumpkins in my garden this year. Sure, you might think "big whoop" - but some countries in Africa are putting the pumpkin on top of a pedestral (figuratively speaking, that is) because it's generating electricity to help power mobile-phone networks. Check out the news story: "Pumpkin oil to power African phone networks."
According to the article, "Swedish telecom Ericsson and South African cell phone operator MTN said on Wednesday they want to start replacing diesel with biofuels in electricity generating stations powering mobile-phone base stations in rural Africa... Starting in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, fuel will be processed from palm, groundnut, pumpkin seeds, and jatropha... Ericsson estimates that around 0.5 square kilometers of palm oil crops are needed to generate the fuel for 20 base stations, the equivalent of 83 football fields."
My pumpkin patch was completely overgrown about a month and half ago, with vines trailing through the fence and into my neighbor's backyard. However, all I have to show for my hard labor is ONE lonely pumpkin. That wouldn't even generate enough juice to light the background screen on my cell phone. Good-bye biofuels, hello jack-o-lantern!
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.