Green electricity from oranges!! Scratching your head, are you? So were we when we learnt about a Spanish city, Seville, generating green electricity from the city’s oranges. Emasesa is a Public Water Supply and Sanitation Company in Seville, Spain running a pilot project to generate clean energy from the juice of bitter oranges.
The streets of the city are home to almost 50000 orange trees. With an increase of 37.5% in the yield from the previous year, the forecast for the harvest this year is 5.7 million kgs. The huge amount of bitter orange deposits on the streets mount a tough task to the city’s sanitation department. The oranges when on trees look beautiful but once they accumulate on roads and are squashed under the cars, pose a threat to pedestrians and attract bugs and flies. But turning this challenge into an opportunity, Emasesa started this innovative pilot project and struck gold in the waste of bitter oranges.
Process to generate green energy from oranges
In a press release dated 18th Feb 2021, the company apprises how it is setting a perfect example of a circular economy. After recovering bitter oranges from the streets of the city, methane gas from the fermenting fruit is used to generate electricity. The produced electrical energy is further self-supplied to one of Emsesa’s water purification facility. And this is not it. The husk and the part of oranges that could not be used in the process are turned into compost which is reused in the fields of the province, thus closing the carbon cycle. That is truly squeezing the maximum juice out of an orange. The city’s objective is to use the complete bitter orange produce for generating clean energy.
The team behind the project told The Guardian, that the potential is indeed huge since the copious amount of oranges otherwise are dumped in landfills. The initial figures suggest that 1000 kgs of oranges can generate 50kWH of electrical energy. The team further added that if theoretically all the city’s oranges are used for the purpose, they can power around 73000 houses. The project is helping the city of Seville reduce carbon emissions from the conventional sources of electricity, attaining energy self-sufficiency and a circular economy.
Juan Espadas Cejas, the mayor of Seville, quotes
“Emasesa is now a role model in Spain for sustainability and the fight against climate change,”
Oranges no doubt, are by far the most unconventional source of renewable energy. Science can surely take us places and provide answers to one of the most complex problems we face in modern times, i.e. climate change. Who would have thought oranges were so electric!!
Signing off now, stay tuned for similar information about events, which gives us hope of a better world for our future generations. See you all in our next episode.
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