It's getting harder to stay on top of all this. Just as news of the reality of climate crisis appears to be arriving daily, so too are stories of alternative energy breakthroughs. This one should put a smile on any face. Researchers at the UK's University of Birmingham fed Escherichia coli bacteria a feast of waste caramel and nougat from chocolate giant Cadbury Schweppes. The bacteria subsequently burped out hydrogen gas, which was harnessed via a fuel cell to power an electric fan. Of course it was slightly more complicated than that, but you get the picture. Professor Lynne Macaskie, who led the research team said, "Although only at its initial stages, we've demonstrated a hydrogen-producing, waste-reducing technology that, for example, might be scaled-up in 5-10 years' time for industrial electricity generation and waste treatment processes." Can imagine we'll soon hear of bacteria organising unions to negotiate working conditions, as the reports also indicate they were put to additional work recovering the metal palladium from spent catalytic converters from old cars. (A riveting, thrill-a-minute movie of the fuel cell in action can be seen here.) ::University of Birmingham, via ::ABC Online.