Biotech Updates

York Scientist to Produce Biofuel from Orange Peel

September 23, 2011

Orange peels could be a potential source of biofuel, according to a team of scientists from the University of York, headed by Professor James Clark. Using high-powered microwaves, Clark has figured out how to capture gas from fruit peels that can be converted into a variety of useful materials, from plastics to ethanol.  With the cooperation of scientists from the University of Sao Paolo, Brazil and the University of Cordoba, Spain, Clark started a project called Orange Peel Exploitation Company (OPEC) which aims to search for ways to extract value from orange peel using safe and sustainable chemistry. One of the main products that they target to develop is bio-ethanol.

"The by-product of the juicing industry therefore has the potential to provide a range of compounds, offering a more profitable and environmentally valuable alternative to current waste use practices. We are seeking to do this by harnessing the chemical potential of food supply chain waste using green chemical technologies and use nature's own functionalities to obtain sought-after properties in everyday products," said Clark.

"Waste is a problem worldwide. Food residues and by-products are being generated in very significant quantities by the food industry and the agricultural sector...The increasing demand for renewable feedstocks is encouraging the re-use of organic waste from the food supply chain for the production of novel added-value materials, chemicals and fuels,"  he added.

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