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Discarded Watermelons Could be Used to Make Ethanol

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Did you know that up to a fifth of all watermelons grown each summer go discarded, only because of their non-uniform shape? It’s not that they’re not good tasting, but us, customers, simply choose not to buy them. Well, it seems they can be used for making ethanol.

Wayne Fish, a chemist at the Agricultural Research Service in Lane, OK, said that “if you figure a field of watermelon may yield somewhere between 60 and 100 tons per acre of watermelon, a fifth of that can be substantial.”

Together with his colleagues, Fish experimented with the extraction of antioxidant compounds from watermelon juice and got a stream of sugary fluids. From sugar to ethanol there’s a relatively simple path to follow.

By using an acre’s watermelon crop (the unused part), they got 23 gallons of ethanol. The researchers already envision a transport infrastructure that would go to farmers and take the unused watermelons for processing.

[via national geographic]

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