Researchers from the University of York in the United Kingdom, the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and the University of Cordoba in Spain are working on a project that could turn orange peels into sustainable biofuel. The project is called the Orange Peel Exploitation Company (OPEC).
Professor James Clark from the University of York’s Department of Chemistry said the focus of the project is to convert excess orange peels into a variety of materials, including ethanol and plastic.
According to the University of York website, “OPEC will target products including bio-ethanol, the widely used additive in domestic products d-limonene, and mesoporous carbons that can be used as water purifiers, as well as chemical commodities such as cresol, all of which have the advantage of being bio-derived.”
What exactly could this mean for the future of waste and fuel? Currently in Brazil over three million tons of excess orange peels are thrown away once the juice is squeezed from the orange. Using these excess peels could not only reduce landfill waste, but it could also create an affordable and eco-friendly way to produce ethanol.
Professor Clark presented the project at the University of Bradford’s British Science Festival on September 14.