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Biofuels olives

Published on October 29th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

7

Scientists Say Olive Stones Can Be Used As Fuel

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October 29th, 2008 by
 
olives

Chalk olive stones up to the list of waste products that can be used as fuel. Researchers from the Universities of Jaén and Granada in Spain have discovered that olive stones—byproducts of processing olive oil and table olives—can be turned into bioethanol.

The new process works by pre-treating the stones with high-pressure hot water and adding enzymes to break down plant matter and create sugars. Hydrolysate obtained from the process is then fermented with yeasts to produce ethanol. The top yield from the process is 5.7kg of ethanol per 100kg of olive stones.

While the amount of olive stones produced as a waste byproduct pales in comparison to other agricultural wastes, we can’t afford to overlook anything in the race for sustainable fuel. After all, the more waste byproducts we use, the fewer food crops we waste on fuel.

Photo Credit: mccullagh.org

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • CarlosAFL

    Using olive kernels as fuel for heating uses is quite common in some regions of Spain.

  • Uncle B

    The price of cheap oil is rising as we speak, and some large reserves are empty. We will be using olive stones and the like, to fuel the machines building the Solar, Wind, Wave, Hydro, Tidal and geothermal power plants to replace oil, because we didn’t listen when warned about the end of oil on the planet. Thank goodness, Solar, Wind, Wave, Hydro, Tidal and geothermal powers are “Perpetual” or Renewable if you will, and will last long enough to teach us to respect energies from all sources and teach us in its frugal usage. China, with more post graduate students with IQ’s of 130+ than the U.S.A. has high school students, will by brain-force alone lead the way in the world from now on and will soon present what appear as “miracles” at our level of understanding, like the Japanese car that really does run on water, but since we lack adequate education to understand it, we simply discard it in disbelief! We will struggle with many small sources of fuel, from poorly designed Solar attempts to squeezing any biomass we find for fuels until real enlightenment is sold to us from Asia on glossy color pages of magazines decorated with naked women,and movies, our favorite and only mind foods and most convincing educators.

  • Uncle B

    The price of cheap oil is rising as we speak, and some large reserves are empty. We will be using olive stones and the like, to fuel the machines building the Solar, Wind, Wave, Hydro, Tidal and geothermal power plants to replace oil, because we didn’t listen when warned about the end of oil on the planet. Thank goodness, Solar, Wind, Wave, Hydro, Tidal and geothermal powers are “Perpetual” or Renewable if you will, and will last long enough to teach us to respect energies from all sources and teach us in its frugal usage. China, with more post graduate students with IQ’s of 130+ than the U.S.A. has high school students, will by brain-force alone lead the way in the world from now on and will soon present what appear as “miracles” at our level of understanding, like the Japanese car that really does run on water, but since we lack adequate education to understand it, we simply discard it in disbelief! We will struggle with many small sources of fuel, from poorly designed Solar attempts to squeezing any biomass we find for fuels until real enlightenment is sold to us from Asia on glossy color pages of magazines decorated with naked women,and movies, our favorite and only mind foods and most convincing educators.

  • Z. Kriegsman

    Although not converted to ethanol, but we use olive stones for a number of years now, as a secondary fuel in our coal fired powerplant.

  • Z. Kriegsman

    Although not converted to ethanol, but we use olive stones for a number of years now, as a secondary fuel in our coal fired powerplant.

  • Scott_T

    Yes! We should burn Oliver Stone… what? Olive stones?

  • Scott_T

    Yes! We should burn Oliver Stone… what? Olive stones?

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