Valencia’s orange groves could soon be powering Spanish cars as a new technology is developed to turn the fruit’s peel into biofuel.

In a region with 190,000 hectares covered with oranges and lemons – many of which are left to rot on the trees – citric-powered cars could reduce pollution while using a readily available source of energy.

Valencia produces four million tonnes of oranges a year, most of which are squeezed into juice. Most of the 240,000 tonnes of waste is sold as animal feed but it could be turned into bioethanol.

Each tonne of pulp could more than fill the average car’s petrol tank, producing 80 litres of fuel. Once the new juice plant planned for the region is completed, waste output would rise to 500,000 tonnes, Mr González head of planning at the regional government of Valencia said. “That would be enough to produce 37.5m litres of bioethanol,”

Local officials claim they could reduce the region’s dependency on petrol by up to 40% while creating 2,500 jobs and revitalising a sector that pays for the upkeep of 100,000 families.

One Comment

  • Ok, how much oil was burned to grow all those unneeded fruits in the first place? A great deal of oil and pollution was created growing them I suspect. And even more pollution and waste will be created in futile attempt to turn lemons in lemonade-for cars that is. The entire scheme is deep in the red energetically speaking before it even begins. If the rotting fruit falls off the trees, at least it will fertilize the soil-something useful. Turning it into ‘fuel’ for cars,will just dig an even deeper energy hole.

    If food is rotting on trees in Valencia, they should donate it to the hungry. I know Spain has lots of hungry people, +25% unemployment anyone? It would make far more sense to give the food to hungry people, economically, energetically and above all, morally, than to try to pulp negative net energy citrus into ‘fuel’ for gas-burning garbage cans.

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