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]