Chemist invents way to get natural gas from fruit peels

You may soon be filling your tank with 'orange fuel'
Sep 22, 2011

Have you ever wondered why biofuels have not exactly taken off? It may seem more earth-friendly but hard-core environmentalists still have apprehensions over the production of biofuels.

"While turning food crops like corn into ethanol appears to be a good idea, the conversion process can use up more energy than it's worth," said, adding that crops take up space in the fields that may be better used for food production.

With these concerns in mind, a chemist from the University of York in the United Kingdom found a way to capture natural gas from fruit peels. James Clark piloted the technique and found that the by-product may be used to produce other materials like plastic and ethanol.

Among the fruits that may be a good source of natural gas is orange, and the University of York has already pioneered an initiative it calls the Orange Peel Exploitation Company to explore the uses of orange peels.

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"The new initiative is a research partnership between the University of York and universities in places with serious fruit industries: Spain and Brazil," said.

The report added that Brazil annually leaves three million tons of orange peel to rot--something that is "economically and socially unacceptable as well as representing a major loss of resource."

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