Fradley University in Staffordshire recently announced an internal joint venture between its Sustainable Engineering Facility and its Green Genes Department.
Briefly, the university envisages a radically new form of power generation called the Fradley University Sustainable Eco Green Gender-Neutral Anti-Racist Diverse Power Initiative, snappily condensed to FU Power. It is based on genetically modified hamsters.
The Green Genes Department has been tasked with using the very latest genetic techniques to splice elephant genes into hamsters to create giant one ton hamsters, the biological engine of this exciting new energy source. David Cameron is said to be very interested.
The huge new eco-hamsters will be used in specially engineered power generating treadmills designed by the Sustainable Engineering Facility.
As the eco-hamster rotates the treadmill, it turns a high efficiency turbine to generate electricity, effectively converting hamster food into sustainable power. An interesting wrinkle in this ambitious project is to modify the hamster gut to tolerate low grade cellulose materials such as straw, dried vegetation and even old books.
“Apart from their main feed, we hope our hamsters will consume old books to help with our demanding new recycling targets,” confirms project director Dr Baz Broxtowe during our brief chat in the university dining hall.
“Books?” I ask.
“Yes books - absolutely. Of course we are thinking of books nobody reads these days such as most of the university library. Also books such as old Bibles, encyclopaedias and those great thick novels by Dickens and that Russian guy, Warren Peace.”
“What happens when the eco-hamsters get too old to work the treadmills?” I ask.
“Great question,” Dr Baz replies with enormous enthusiasm. “We intend to recycle them into Power Burgers for local schools. Should be a very acceptable addition to the school meal.
“I’m not sure if schools...” I begin but Dr Baz is on a roll.
“Because our current eco-hamsters are still far too small and much too dozy to work the treadmills we’ve pushed things along and already come up with a few recipes to ease the pressure on project timescales.”
“Really?” I reply, peering anxiously at what I assume is a beef burger.
“Yes. How’s yours?”