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Published on October 29th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz


Scientists Say Olive Stones Can Be Used As Fuel

October 29th, 2008 by  


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.

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