Orange Peels Could Float Florida in Ethanol

Okay, not really float the whole state, but Dr. Henry Daniell, a professor of genetic engineering at the University of Central Florida, believes orange peels alone could be used to produce 200 million gallons of ethanol. His method would employ a mixture of plant-based enzymes to transform the peels into sugar, which then would be fermented to make ethanol. Currently the main source of material for making ethanol in the US is corn.

Florida’s enormous citrus output would make it a very viable candidate for ethanol production if Dr. Daniell’s ideas can be implemented. He remarked on the potential: “This could be a turning point where vehicles could use this fuel as the norm for protecting our air and environment for future generations.”

His research group created enzymes for breaking down the orange peels by cloning fungi and bacteria, and then growing their genes in tobacco plants. This new process reduced the cost of enzyme production (compared with making them in a lab) by one thousand times. Their enzyme conversion to sugar for ethanol process can also be applied to sugarcane, switch grass, and straw.

If successful, producing a large amount of ethanol within the state could be quite a boon for the local economy, providing jobs, and a lower emissions fuel to reduce air pollution. Of course it would also help to reduce consumption of foreign oil, a practice that is sensitive politically and economically.

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Caroline B.
Caroline B3 years ago

Interesting, I'm off to Google to see if there is updated news.

Jennifer P.
Jennifer P6 years ago

genetically modified fuel? I can go with that. It's a good place to get orange peels, with all the bottled/cartoned OJ produced there.

a             y m.
g d c6 years ago

current status???

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby6 years ago


Nelson Baker
Nelson Baker6 years ago

Sounds good.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago

For drinking?

Kay M.
Kay M6 years ago

would be nice.

Ben Oscarsito
Ben O6 years ago

And, WHEN will this come true...???

J.L. A.
JL A7 years ago

does it release fewer chemicals into the air and use less energy to create ethanol than corn proved to require and do?

Laurita Walters
Laurita Walters7 years ago

I understand that orange peels don't really biodegrade as quickly as other plant materials, as witnessed by the bits you might find in campgrounds and parks. Animals don't eat them either -- making them a perfect source for ethanol.