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Researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena turn orange peel and lemon into fuel for cars (30/04/2009)

Researchers from the Department of Food Engineering and Agricultural Equipment UPCT have managed to turn the skins of citrus (orange, tangerine, lemon and grapefruit) into fuel for cars.

This is a process that transforms the products of citrus juice, into bioethanol.

This 'alcohol' is used as a gasoline additive.

The new technology can provide, from the products produced in the Region of Murcia, more than 25 million liters of bio-alcohol a year, says the professor of Food Technology, Antonio López.

This amount is the fuel used in 14,000 vehicles a year to travel 18,000 km each, which can reduce fuel consumption in the Region of Murcia (in the order of 5-8%) and, in turn, the contamination.

Bioethanol is different from traditional fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) that is not stored in the earth, but comes from plants.

Precisely because of this, the main attraction is its renewable and environmentally.

The technology developed in the UPCT "improves yields obtained by researchers at California Polytechnic University of Valencia as they can reach up to 70 liters per ton of product bioteanol citrus.

Also requires a lower power consumption for the drying system used, "said Antonio Lopez.

This is the first time you get this high performance biocohol from the skins of citrus products.

So far this fuel was obtained mainly from sugar cane and cereals.

The professor notes that the research group UPCT maximizes the skins of citrus fruit and yields products at a competitive price.

At the same time as co-products are obtained limonene and a well accepted and enriched food with high nutritional value for livestock.

The process produces no waste and prevent environmental problems handling current citrus pulp (you have about 500,000 tons per year).

The research group began working on this technological development about two years ago, with the collaboration of the company HRS Spiratube Murcia, SL, and financial support of the Energy Management Agency of the Region of Murcia (ARGEM) and DG Research of the Government of the Region of Murcia.

The budget for this project has been approximately 117,000 Euros.

The picture shows part of the pilot plant installed at the University of Agri-Food Research Station at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, located in La Palma (Cartagena).

Source: UPCT

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