30 Oct 2008:
The Lowly Olive Pit
Joins the Biofuels Revolution
Spanish researchers say they have found an environmentally friendly use for the estimated 4 million tons of olive pits
generated as waste by the olive processing industry each year: convert them to biofuels. Reporting in the Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology
, scientists from the Universities of Granada and Jaen said they created a biofuel by placing the pits, or stones, in a large pressure cooker and adding enzymes that degrade the pits and produce sugars. The liquid was then fermented to produce ethanol. The researchers reported a yield of 5.7 kg (12.5 pounds)of ethanol for every 100 kg (220 pounds) of olive pits. Using olive pits has a major advantage over corn, sugar cane, and other food-based biofuels because it uses inedible food waste and does not require planting new fields. The researchers said that although the number of olive pits available worldwide is not huge, their conversion to ethanol demonstrates the advantages of using food and forestry wastes in biofuel production.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Accepting entries through June 15, 2015.
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.