Next Up in Ethanol Innovation: Orange Peels

The price of ethanol is plummeting and corn-based ethanol skeptics are gaining increasing traction in casting a dark shadow over its potential. But the biofuel revolution continues to spur innovation and researchers around the world are uncovering alternatives to corn and sugarcane from which to produce ethanol. In Mexico, the newest discovery is ethanol derived from orange peel, which a group of students from the University of Guadalajara's science and engineering division happened upon while researching essential oils.

The study was presented at the 42nd annual Mexican Chemistry Congress this week and demonstrated the possibility of using the fermented sugars from orange peel to produce ethanol. According to the students, orange peel adds oxygen to fuel, which helps to neutralize the carbon monoxide emissions. So far it's unclear whether orange-based ethanol would drive up the price of the world's favorite citrus fruit, but at the least the Mexican government is likely to fund more research to find out. ::Via Reforma (Spanish link and subscription required)

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