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Source: Pixabay

Penn State Researchers Develop Method To Convert Potato Waste To Ethanol

By Brian Spaen

Reaching the end of a potato chip bag and throwing away the crumbs isn’t the only waste generated by the product. When it comes to manufacturing potato chips, plenty of residue and peelings are tossed out that could be converted into biofuel. Researchers at Penn State University have been able to create the process that makes ethanol more cost effective than its petroleum counterpart.

Potato waste is broken down with saccharification and fermentation to create bioethanol. Saccharification is the process of turning starch from potatoes into sugar, and when fermented, that converts those sugars into ethanol. Mold and yeast helped accelerate the conversion of potato scraps to the biofuel.

In order to create an optimal environment, the temperature was set at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The measure of acidity of the solution, known as the pH value, was set at 5.8, which is more acidic than the neutral level. After 72 hours, scientists were able to get 0.41 grams of ethanol per gram of potato starch.