CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused
website
 in the world. Subscribe today!


Biofuels University of Florida researcher develops biofuel from oranges and tobacco enzymes

Published on February 25th, 2010 | by Tina Casey

6

A Sustainble Recipe for Biofuel: Ethanol from Orange Peels and Tobacco

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

University of Florida researcher develops biofuel from oranges and tobacco enzymesCorn has been flaming out as a biofuel crop, and taking its place is a regular fruit salad of non-food and waste food alternatives.  The latest up and and comer is being developed by researcher Henry Daniell of the University of Central Florida, who naturally turned to oranges for his biofuel inspiration, with a new method for producing ethanol.

The fact that Florida is swimming in oranges illustrates the unfolding potential of the biofuel industry.  In contrast to fossil fuels, which are often shipped long distances to their point of use, biofuel production can be tailored to take advantage of local resources, whether it’s biofuel from unmarketable watermelons, algae, carbon monoxide harvested from factory emissions, or even biofuel from microbes and sunlight.  As for the connection between biofuel and tobacco, that’s the “secret ingredient” behind Daniell’s success.



style=”display:inline-block;width:320px;height:100px”
data-ad-client=”ca-pub-1552008901061842″
data-ad-slot=”3174564940″>

Biofuel, Oranges and Tobacco

Oranges and tobacco are just the beginning.  Daniel’s approach can be applied to newspapers, straw, and switchgrass as well as food waste such as orange peels (according to an article on the UCF website by Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala, Florida alone generates enough orange peels to produce about 200 million gallons of ethanol yearly).  The secret ingredient is a tobacco enzyme derived by cloning genes from fungi and bacteria, which is far less expensive than creating synthetic enzymes.  The enzyme breaks down “woody” nonfood biomass like orange peels, enabling a wide range of non-food plants and plant waste to be used as feedstock for biofuels, instead of corn.

Biofuels and Fossil Fuels

One problem with conventional corn-based ethanol production aside from its relatively high cost is its heavy carbon footprint.  Innovative, low cost biofuel production methods and new feedstocks are breaking down that equation, which eventually will leave fossil fuels with little advantage and one huge disadvantage, the environmental havoc involved in destructive harvesting methods including hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and mountaintop removal for coal (and just plain old underground  coal mining).  That’s on top of a rapidly growing list of  transportation and storage disasters including the notorious Exxon Valdez oil spill, last year’s Tennessee coal ash flood, and this week’s relatively small but potentially devastating oil spill affecting the Po River in Italy, at the heart of a key agricultural district.

Image: Oranges by Brooks Elliot on flickr.com.

Follow me on Twitter: @TinaMCasey.






Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

Tags: , , ,


About the Author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • Info

    We have developed a continuous-flow, non-enzyme hydrolysis process for Sunkist, to process citrus peels, pulp and membranes.  This technology also extracts the limonene in an almost pure state (to be converted into a plastic) … all in the same piece of equipment.  http://www.bioenergydesign.com

  • hulsey2

    Biofuels are awesome, especially biodiesel, I look forward to a green future as I am sure the rest of you do as well. Recycle cooking oil~!

  • http://neatuloo.com Dr. Smarajit Roy

    Cheapest source of ” A sustainable Recipe for Biofuel” in my view is Faeces. I have designed and applied for a paten for developing countries. Please follow me. Details are as below.

    I have designed a portable sustainable, affordable sanitary system for developing countries. The system suggests anaerobic digestion and has huge market potential. Please find below a summery of the project. I am about to publish a book to support my idea.

    OPEN DEFECATION AND HEALTH

    Sanitation foster social development. At its core are human dignity and human rights. For the 2.6 billion people who have to defecate behind bushes, in plastic bags or buckets, along railway tracks or in roadside ditches, human dignity is under daily assault. Every day, worldwide, people are falling sick and dying for no better reason than the lack of a good clean toilet (Geneva_AFP March 2008). About 2 in every five people have no access to a proper toilet. “In the world today, there are 15 million deaths caused by infectios diseases” said David Heyman, WHO’s assistant director general for health security environment (GENEVA_AFP March 2008).

    People become infected with intestinal worms through contact with soil that has been contaminated with human faeces from an infected person, or by eating contaminated food. It is estimated that about 400 million school –aged children are infected by roundworm, whipworm and/or hookworm etc.

    Toilet saves life. Most schools in developing countries are built without any Toilets. Where no toilet blocks are set aside for girls, parents won’t allow their daughters to attend school, especially once they have started menstruating and need somewhere discrete to change and disposed of used clothes. This is the reason why one in four girls do not complete primary school, compared to one in seven.

    GREEN TO GOLD.

    In many developing countries such as in India there are organized PAY AS YOU GO public toilets. People spend a great deal of time each day queuing up. World Health Organization made a conservative estimate of 30 minuites per person per day, amounting to 21 unproductive hours a week for a household of six people. Improved sanitation would give every such household an additional 1,000 hours a year to work, study, and care for children. This time has an estimated annual economic value of well over US$ 100 billion each year.

    Concept To Design.

    Neat U Loo system is a household centered approach. The approach allows a step by step implementation and does not burden the budget of local/ central or NGO’s budget. This is an affordable, easy to implement hygienic cost effective and even with the prospect of financial and benefit and lastly but most importantly environmental benefit. Private household may be ready to pay for the units if there is an evidence of joined up service. The household centred approach allows nutrient recovery and reuse of human excreta in agriculture and biogas production for domestic use.

    To find further details please go to http://www.designmindgroup.com/loi.htm Enter product code ID 303626.

    I am looking for a company who can make the proto type and sign a licencing agreement with my agents “Design Mind Group”. The concept has huge international impact and would be a very profitable venture. I am searching for an export oriented company in UK who would take advantage of Government’s Aid benefits supplying services rather than a one time solution. Infrastructure development is a life long improvement of general well being of the developing nation.

    Thanking you.

  • http://neatuloo.com Dr. Smarajit Roy

    Cheapest source of ” A sustainable Recipe for Biofuel” in my view is Faeces. I have designed and applied for a paten for developing countries. Please follow me. Details are as below.

    I have designed a portable sustainable, affordable sanitary system for developing countries. The system suggests anaerobic digestion and has huge market potential. Please find below a summery of the project. I am about to publish a book to support my idea.

    OPEN DEFECATION AND HEALTH

    Sanitation foster social development. At its core are human dignity and human rights. For the 2.6 billion people who have to defecate behind bushes, in plastic bags or buckets, along railway tracks or in roadside ditches, human dignity is under daily assault. Every day, worldwide, people are falling sick and dying for no better reason than the lack of a good clean toilet (Geneva_AFP March 2008). About 2 in every five people have no access to a proper toilet. “In the world today, there are 15 million deaths caused by infectios diseases” said David Heyman, WHO’s assistant director general for health security environment (GENEVA_AFP March 2008).

    People become infected with intestinal worms through contact with soil that has been contaminated with human faeces from an infected person, or by eating contaminated food. It is estimated that about 400 million school –aged children are infected by roundworm, whipworm and/or hookworm etc.

    Toilet saves life. Most schools in developing countries are built without any Toilets. Where no toilet blocks are set aside for girls, parents won’t allow their daughters to attend school, especially once they have started menstruating and need somewhere discrete to change and disposed of used clothes. This is the reason why one in four girls do not complete primary school, compared to one in seven.

    GREEN TO GOLD.

    In many developing countries such as in India there are organized PAY AS YOU GO public toilets. People spend a great deal of time each day queuing up. World Health Organization made a conservative estimate of 30 minuites per person per day, amounting to 21 unproductive hours a week for a household of six people. Improved sanitation would give every such household an additional 1,000 hours a year to work, study, and care for children. This time has an estimated annual economic value of well over US$ 100 billion each year.

    Concept To Design.

    Neat U Loo system is a household centered approach. The approach allows a step by step implementation and does not burden the budget of local/ central or NGO’s budget. This is an affordable, easy to implement hygienic cost effective and even with the prospect of financial and benefit and lastly but most importantly environmental benefit. Private household may be ready to pay for the units if there is an evidence of joined up service. The household centred approach allows nutrient recovery and reuse of human excreta in agriculture and biogas production for domestic use.

    To find further details please go to http://www.designmindgroup.com/loi.htm Enter product code ID 303626.

    I am looking for a company who can make the proto type and sign a licencing agreement with my agents “Design Mind Group”. The concept has huge international impact and would be a very profitable venture. I am searching for an export oriented company in UK who would take advantage of Government’s Aid benefits supplying services rather than a one time solution. Infrastructure development is a life long improvement of general well being of the developing nation.

    Thanking you.

  • J Hayes

    Oddly enough, there’s more than biofuel in those peels: 4Orange Vodka is made from the same stuff. 4orangevodka.com

  • J Hayes

    Oddly enough, there’s more than biofuel in those peels: 4Orange Vodka is made from the same stuff. 4orangevodka.com

Back to Top ↑