Wednesday, 02 Sep, 2009 Science

Watermelon Could Be Used to Produce Eco-friendly Fuel


Soon it would be possible to power your car with watermelon. During the U.S. government researches scientists studied the popular summer fruit and found that unwanted watermelons, meaning those who have odd shapes and are rejected by customers, could serve as a source for producing biofuel ethanol. According to the co-author of the research, Wayne Fish, a chemist with the Agricultural Research Service in Lane, Oklahoma, about 20 percent of all watermelons sold in the United States are rejected.

Scientists believe that it would be more reasonable to leave odd-shaped watermelons on the vine. Taking into consideration that a field of watermelon features 60 to 100 tons per acre then a fifth part of that can be quite enough. During their experiments, when scientists attempted to extract antioxidants compounds from the fruit's juice, they came up with the idea of using the sugary fluids of the watermelon to produce ethanol. From an acre of unused watermelon, researchers managed to produce about 87 liters of ethanol. You can find more interesting information on green technologies here at; please consider checking the links at the bottom of the story.

"For average-size growers that have 300 to 1,000 acres [121 to 405 hectares], they may just keep the ethanol themselves and use it in their own production," said the co-author of the study. For larger farms it would be possible to generate enough biofuel to sell it, reports National Geographic News. Fish believes that it would be more efficient to create mobile breweries that can go from one farm to another. He says that there is no economic sense in carrying unwanted fruits to a processing facility. "In terms of the actual process that goes on, it is no different than making homebrew," he said.

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