Thursday, September 10, 2009
Gotta Love Those Melons...!
Do you get gas from watermelon? You could...check this out from the Houston Chronicle...!
LANE, Okla. — An Oklahoma-based chemist for the Department of Agriculture said his research suggests that sugars in the juice of watermelons can be used to make ethanol.
Wayne Fish works with the department’s research service laboratory in Lane. He said his research began two years ago during a study on how to enrich watermelons for their effect on human health.
“Then some watermelon producers asked us to find something they could do with their cull watermelons,” he said.
Joel Tumblson, a watermelon producer in Rush Springs, said finding a use for cull or discarded watermelons would be “amazing.” He said he sometimes has to leave as much as one-fourth of his crop in the field each season because the melons are overripe, cracked, sunburned or misshapen.
“Right now we just feed them to the animals or plow them under,” Tumblson said.
Fish said there are advantages to using watermelons. Unlike corn, in which starch must be broken down before it can be fermented, researchers working with watermelons were able to begin the process at fermentation.
But a disadvantage: cost.
Fish said the picking and transporting the fruit, along with returning the finished product to a farm, can be pricey. He said the first step toward using watermelons for ethanol “is to invent a mobile fermentation unit” that could be moved from grower to grower.
Such a unit might not be far from completion. Jim Rausch, the president of Common Sense Agriculture, a Texas-based company, said he hopes to finish a pilot project next year that would simplify the ethanol processing sequence.
“We’re looking at a mobile unit that could be moved from grower to grower, that in a three-month season could turn out 20,000 gallons,” he said. “The whole production process can eliminate transportation costs.”
He said the goal is to turn a waste crop into something that is profitable for farmers.
Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee. Can't do the patio today 'cause it's raining!