Production of ethanol from by-products of cellulosic biomass, particularly from citrus fruit, has been a hot topic in the news recently. InoesBio, a company based in the US state of Florida, is reportedly on the verge of marketing what the press is calling “the first supply of ethanol from oranges”. Millions of dollars, including public funding, have contributed to turning the dream into a reality.
In the US, the move to invest in biofuel produced from residue left behind from citrus production goes back to commitments made in 2009 as part of legislation on renewable energy, with a ceiling set at a billion gallons, a target which American industry is still a long way off from. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it had developed the transformation process for citrus waste that, after almost five years, could bear the desired results.
A Sicilian company actually beat everyone to the prize, and without government financing. AgrumiGel, located near Messina, began research in 2005, beginning its own production of ethanol from citrus refuse the same year that the US approved the legal framework, with the idea still in a phase of study and evolution.