US researchers have created a more efficient process to turn potato waste into ethanol in what could have implications for both the food processing and biofuel industries.

The research took place in Pennsylvania, a state with many producers of potato chips, and used peelings and potato residuals from a local food-processor. Scientists from the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) have developed an approach where the process of breaking down the starch into simple sugars and the process of converting the sugars into ethanol occur simultaneously in bioreactors. They achieved maximum ethanol concentration of 37.93 grams per litre. According to the researchers the results are promising as this ethanol production is similar to the traditional process, which, however, involves pre-treatment with added commercial enzymes at a higher temperature. Their process therefore provides for enzyme and energy cost savings.


Provided by Renewables Now exclusively for Essentica.