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Power Earth Science Technology

Watermelon Juice Makes Great Biofuel 160

Mike writes "Watermelons are more than just a tasty summer snack — researchers at the USDA have determined that the fruit constitutes a promising and economically viable source of biofuel. It turns out that the relatively high concentration of directly fermentable sugars in watermelon juice can be easily converted into ethanol. Rather than grow fields of the fruit for the purpose, the report suggests that farmers capitalize on the 20% of each annual watermelon crop that is left in the field because of surface blemishes or because they are misshapen."
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Watermelon Juice Makes Great Biofuel

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  • by Misanthrope ( 49269 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @04:32PM (#29222451)

    As a homebrewer, does this actually taste decent?

  • Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EkriirkE ( 1075937 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @04:35PM (#29222509) Homepage
    Any glucose/sugar product can be distilled this way.
    Next up: Candy Canes make Great Biofuel
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by garcia ( 6573 )

      Mmmm fermented pumpkins: []

    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @04:59PM (#29222937)
      I don't think its the fact that they can be turned into biofuel but the fact that we are pretty much just throwing away 20% of potential crops that can be used for it, so we wouldn't need to use new fields or change crops. On the other hand, pretty much all the corn grown for ethanol could be used for human consumption (yeah, you might need a different type of corn).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mejogid ( 1575619 )
        Ploughing waste back into the land or leaving it to decompose is hardly wasting anything - it's a natural fertiliser and reduces the need for less sustainable artificial fertilizers. Creating artificial nitrate fertilizers often involves using huge amounts of fossil fuels to extract nitrogen from the atmosphere, and many other minerals are mined unsustainably and in a highly environmentally destructive manner.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by wvmarle ( 1070040 )

          You are partly right and partly wrong here. Yes ploughing it back in the land saves fertiliser, that's right. But on the other hand, the sugars in the water melon juice nor the water it contains do anything to fertilise the land. And those sugars is what the fuel makers are after.

          So the simple solution would be to harvest the melons, squeeze out the juice for the fuel makers, and return the solid parts to the land for composting. And I'm sure juice presses can be cheap enough and US farms tend to be large

          • by d3ac0n ( 715594 )

            Or a method similar to the one used with corn based ethanol manufacturing could be set up. The farmers sell the watermelons to the factory, the factory pulps and processes the melons, making bio-fuel, and the waste pulp is then resold very cheaply to anyone who wants it.

            Not only does this method generate more capital, it's less resource intensive and more efficient as it doesn't require farmers to set up "juicing" factories on their property. So the farmers just keep doing what they are doing now, and the

            • Now, if we could just solve that pesky "Ethanol is acidic, difficult to store and transport, and less efficient as a motor fuel than fossil fuels" problem.

              Euhm... maybe I'm forgetting my chemistry (I've a degree in it but not working in chemical industry) but afaik ethanol is not exactly acidic. I can't think of any way it would split in water to form an acid. If ethanol fuel is acidic then it's not pure (maybe acetic acid produced as well).

              Also I doubt the "difficult to store and transport part" silliness. That sounds like fud from vested interests.

              Less efficient than fossil fuels may be true, I don't know the energy produced when burning 1 litre of each.

              • by d3ac0n ( 715594 )

                Ethanol's hydroxyl proton is very weakly acidic. The pH of 100% ethanol is 7.33, compared to 7.00 for pure water.

                However, when compared against Gasoline it is still considered "acidic" since The compounds that make up gasoline do not dissociate into ions
                to any significant extent, and thus do not contribute to corrosion.

                Also, ethanol produced in Industrial processes is very rarely pure, often containing manufacturing and processing leftovers such as phosphoric and sulfuric acid. Keep in mind that as Ethanol

                • Ethanol's hydroxyl proton is very weakly acidic. The pH of 100% ethanol is 7.33, compared to 7.00 for pure water.

                  You contradict yourself: pH >7 is alkaline, so EtOH is a very weak base. Which means it takes in an extra proton on that O atom.

                  Conversion for pure Ethanol use requires a costly lining process with a petrochemical-based liner (Plastic) which then makes the container unfit for gasoline and diesel storage.

                  Many fuel tanks for cars are made out of plastic, usually a HMW-HDPE, and those plastics are exposed to the fuel for years on end without problems. Also many fuel tubes in the car are made out of plastics, usually PA12. So it is not true that plastic is not compatible with gasoline.

          • Well done my dear Watson, now if we can just go catch that Jack the Ripper fellow, we could
            maybe stray down the lew for an ale!

            Seriously, I would mod you up for informative on that one

          • ... how much watermelon is really grown in the US? Even if you used all of the leftover 20%, I doubt you'd make much of a dent in our fuel supply requirement. And given that it costs rather a lot of money to make a distilling plant, I can't see how you'd recover your costs. I just don't see leftover watermelon as a very important source of energy in any realistic scenario.
      • The United States is, by far, the largest producer of corn in the world. Corn is grown on over 400,000 U.S. farms. In 2000, the U.S. produced almost ten billion bushels of the world's total 23 billion bushel crop. Corn grown for grain accounts for almost one quarter of the harvested crop acres in this country. Corn grown for silage accounts for about two percent of the total harvested cropland or about 6 million acres. The amount of land dedicated to corn silage production varies based on growing conditions. In years that produce weather unfavorable to high corn grain yields, corn can be "salvaged" by harvesting the entire plant as silage. According to the National Corn Growers Association, about eighty percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry, and fish production. The crop is fed as ground grain, silage, high-moisture, and high-oil corn. About 12% of the U.S. corn crop ends up in foods that are either consumed directly (e.g. corn chips) or indirectly (e.g. high fructose corn syrup). It also has a wide array of industrial uses including ethanol, a popular oxygenate in cleaner burning auto fuels. []

        • This doesn't mean there could be no better uses for the land, or the corn or whatever grown on it as animal fodder. When it comes to food production one needs much more land to produce 1 cal worth of meat (considering all the land needed to produce the food for the animal) than it is to produce 1 cal worth of bread for example.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I love how the American government seems dead-set and determined to find the most inefficient crops to create bio-fuel (usable energy per square meter of crop sort of thing).

      • I think they should just skip the middleman, and just convert rain-forest directly into biofuels. Make a machine that they can take to a rain forest, and have it grind up all the plants, monkeys, snakes, insects, etc. and pump out biodiesel. It will, at least, save the "burn down the trees" part of the conversion.

        Currently they are just going the long way around.
        1. Convert corn to biodiesel.
        2. 3rd world starving because of a lack of cheap corn.
        3. Slash/burn rain forest to create fields.
        4. Grow corn where ra

    • Candy canes? I would think that Sucrose would be a poor source of bio-fuel. The fact that it's a complex sugar and all of the energy already expended to extract it means that it would require a lot of energy input in comparison with the raw simple sugar fructose.
    • by Joebert ( 946227 )

      Next up: Candy Canes make Great Biofuel

      How do you think Santa is able to give out so much coal every year ?

    • In my opinion it's the cellulose to ethanol technologies we should be concentration on to use stems, stalks or weeds instead of the sugar to ethanol fuels that were made successfully at industrial scales way back in WW2 when it was difficult to get enough oil. Turning food grown with petrochemically produced fertilizers into fuels is wrong on many levels even if it uses a loophole in common sense to put money in pockets. The USA would be better off just importing cheap Brazillian or (gasp, commies!) Cuban
  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @04:35PM (#29222515)
  • by gapagos ( 1264716 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @04:36PM (#29222525)

    As long as we don't claim Watermelon Fuel to be the solution, then I'm happy.

    Corn-based "Ethanol" actually produces more pollution through corn crops than conventional oil.
    Yet we were stuck with mellon heads (pun intended) claiming because it was from plants, it was "green" fuel.

    I see FTA that they only wish to use the 20% watermellon leftovers for fuel, which is good if the conversion to oil doesn't pollute more than a conventional oil refinery, but it should end it there.

    No watermellon-to-oil crop fields please.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      it is green in that the carbon is reabsorbed with the next crop.
      Opposed to releasing carbon that's been underground for millions of years.

      Of course, there isn't enough crop land for these kinds of bio-fuels to be successful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Near as I could tell, the only people who claimed that corn ethanol was actually a good idea were corn growers and any politicians who needed votes out in corn country.(and anybody involved with whiskey, of course; but they aren't wrong)
      • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @06:04PM (#29223873)

        Exactly. Iowa's early primary ensures that any canidate trying to raise more money has to take the pledge to support ethanol as a biofuel. If they point out how wastefull and pointless it's been, they'll have a weak showing there, and their campaign contributions will take a hit. Plus no congressman with eyes on the presidency would be willing to vote against corn for the same reasons.

        Ethanol subsidies have been a huge waste, the money is all going to ADM [], which is the last company we should be giving it to [].

        That wiki page also has some interesting stats on the taxes. "every $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpayers $30." And we're STILL dependant on oil. It's not even that they take corporate welfare, I'd be mad enough just based off how lousy an investment that is.

        • Government wastes your money, news at 11. Seriously, what do you expect? Competent government? Next you will be telling me that people want the government to run their health care for them.
          • First of all, the mechanism and scale of the waste is noteworthy, this is pork that's vying with military contracts for sheer size. Some waste is inevitable, not this much. Second, this isn't a case of simple government waste, this is a case of a private corporation wasting my taxes. I'd say this is "Ridiculous primary system aligned perfectly to help government and private industry waste your money."

            The biggest wastes of taxpayer money aren't government-only, they're when the government teams up with pr

            • I wonder if it's because it implies there is no perfect financial solution,

              I think that this is necessarily true. People are not perfect and therefore any system created by people for the governance of people is bound to be imperfect. However, I also know that some solutions are more perfect than others and ever bigger government is not my idea of the right direction.

              or if it's because it's an argument against defense spending and medicare.

              Some spending on defense is unfortunately necessary because, as I stated previously, people are imperfect and the world is full of violent people who will kill you and take your property by force. So some resources mu

    • by martas ( 1439879 )
      forget about that! doesn't anyone here have a problem with using racist fuel?
  • Kickapoo Juice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mindbrane ( 1548037 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @04:36PM (#29222527) Journal
    I worked for a couple of months on a farm run on manual labour. Dray horses were used when more than a strong back was needed. The owner of the farm made what he called his Kickapoo Juice from the watermelons he grew in a dirt patch near his house. It was a low alcohol content, mild sweet, hot summer's day drink. I high recommend watermelon as a base for biofuel. :)
  • Home to the worlds largest watermelon! []

  • Tractors! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by elsJake ( 1129889 )
    Someone should design a decent bio reactor and distilling apparatus. Farmers would appreciate the free fuel , even if the industry does not adopt watermelon juice powdered cars , tractors have less sophisticated engines that could probably run on mostly alcohol without much damage. I some farmers down here ran their tractors on sunflower oil because that's what they were growing in the fields.
    • ummm, most modern tractors (last I looked) were diesel. sunflower oil, yes. Ethanol, NO.
      • by smoker2 ( 750216 )
        You have to use methanol [] in the biodiesel production process. You need about 40 litres per 200 litres of fuel produced. You can produce either methanol or ethanol from seed crops, vegetable matter etc.
        • Yes, and for this use it would be appropriate. However, the parent said "tractors have less sophisticated engines that could probably run on mostly alcohol without much damage". Unless they have an older Ford 2000, International Harvester Farm All, or the like, which had gasoline engines, they are going to be very disappointed when they put the (m)ethanol in the diesel engine and try to start it.
  • Wasted fruit? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Odo ( 109839 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @04:39PM (#29222585)

    The real news is that 20% of the watermelon crop is currently thrown out due to cosmetic issues. I don't understand why shape and surface issues would disqualify the fruit from use in processed foods. Such as watermelon juice, fruit salads, sweeteners, etc. If true (and the article did not provide citations, this represents a stunning waste.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hesiod ( 111176 )

      That happens all the time with various fruits and vegetables. It's because most people want to buy nice, round watermelons, and not one that looks like it has tumors, despite the fact that they are just as good. The markets know this, so the farmers sell the best product to the markets to keep them coming back. The rest becomes personal use, gifts, and possibly fertilizer for the next crop.

      • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

        He specifically referred to using the cosmetically-inferior items in processed foods, where its appearance isn't relevant. (Figuring out why cosmetic issues are relevant when the consumer is buying the item directly isn't tough to figure out.) Provided the number of ugly fruit is less than the number of fruit used to make processed foods, this would seem to be the most efficient way to use the fruit.

        At a farmer's market, you can often buy the less visually-pleasing fruit as "seconds" at a discounted price.

        • by adolf ( 21054 )

          Only if there's a market for it -- just because there's ample supply of ugly watermelon, doesn't mean that anyone's currently buying it.

          I can count on one hand the number of times I've knowingly ingested industrially-processed watermelon.

          Most of the packaged salads and fruit trays that include watermelon are produced relatively locally, if not in the very grocery store where they're sold. I'd hazard a guess, based on the markup of such items, that there's no reason in these cases to bother to ask the produ

          • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

            Yes -- watermelon is one of those examples where the market for ugly fruit is probably not too high.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Takehiko ( 20798 )

      When was the last time you saw a bottle of watermelon juice at the store?

      • by xaxa ( 988988 )

        I was sure I'd seen something in Tesco, so I had a look online:

        "Bacardi Breezer Watermelon 70cl []
        Produce of United Kingdom
        4% Alcohol
        A refreshing and delicious fruit flavoured alcoholic drink. Bacardi Breezer is fruity, delicious and incredibly refreshing. Available in either 4 packs or as a 70cl to share, there is a flavour for every occasion."

        And currently on offer, two bottles for £5.

        They don't have a juice though. A watermelon is £3.50, or £4 for a "giant" one.

    • Because watermelons aren't used in many processed foods. I've never seen canned watermelons, watermelon juice in any major store, etc.
    • Are they really "wasted"? Couldn't they be used for compost, animal feed, seeds, etc?

    • Easy... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @05:35PM (#29223465) Journal

      Have you ever held a fully grown watermelon?
      How about picked and loaded a truckfull of it, taken it to the market and then be told that you should either return a part of it cause they are bellow the buy-off quality or that you will be paid less for those watermelons, again on account of lower quality?

      It is WAY cheaper to do quality control before PICKING, and just grow more to cover for the statistics.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pavon ( 30274 )

        Well, yeah, the buyer doesn't want to sort the things themselves, that's obvious. The parent is asking where the B-grade buyers are, given there is such a large amount of left over fruit. There are lots of crops that are sold in different quality lots.

    • Re:Wasted fruit? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Useful Wheat ( 1488675 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @05:49PM (#29223655)

      My family owns and operates a peach orchard in Colorado. I've helped with harvesting the trees and pruning the crop, and I'm reasonably familiar with the entire process. Any kind of surface defect or imperfection results in the fruit being thrown on the ground, or discarded. Our farm is fairly small, and only the truly massive farms can really make money selling fruit at less than grade A standards, because the prices are simply awful. Its just not worth the fuel to ship it at that point.

      Most of your grade "B" fruit and veggies comes from grade "A" fruit that sat around too long, and was sold at the lower price rather than thrown out.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Another site... []

    From another article:
    "Retailers rejects 360,000 tons of âoesubstandardâ fruit annually in America alone they could be used as an economical way to make fuel."

    How much, in terms of fuel and resources, does it take to produce these reject, substandard fruits?

    "The waste from US growers could produce nearly two million gallons (nine million litres) of biofuel per year."

    We use, what, 70 billion gallons per year of motor gasoline?

    "Dr Wayne Fish, who led the team, found that 50 per cent of

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      The answer, as always, is to do a bit more research until civilian nuclear power is viable. It is getting close with a full scale pebble bed prototype in China, an accelerated thorium prototype looking like it will be built in India, and Hyperion power systems in the USA taking Los Alamos small military reactor work and turning into something that can be used for electricity production. The "nuclear now" cries are from the vendors of dinosaur plants that will give you electricity at vast ongoing expense f
  • TFA sticks with the "economically viable" phrase and doesn't offer any numbers or details.

    Plenty of things, including oil sands, arctic natural gas, and burning baby seal blubber can be "economically viable" in certain situations, but only when more traditional sources of crude oil reach a certain market price. This article doesn't even conjecture about when and where watermelon fuel could be "economically viable" compared to crude oil, and comparison with crude oil marks the only concrete method of makin
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      and burning baby seal blubber

      The industrialised operations for harvesting baby seal blubber would be a sight to behold!

      Great icebreakers with huge scoops on the front ploughing through the pack ice slurping up the baby seals and turning them into bio-fuel. Awesome image there!

      Ah for the good old days... Me and my girl, seal clubbing. Me and my girl, out on the ice.

  • by Mr.Fork ( 633378 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <ydder.j.drawde>> on Thursday August 27, 2009 @04:45PM (#29222689) Journal
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again, ANY food source used as a bio-fuel is a terrible idea. Using food sources for bio-fuels has resulted in people STARVING to death in developing nations. Why can't these intelligent scientists see this? Even if it's only for spoils of watermelon crops, the fine line between selling the entire source for fuel vs food will become invisible - just as it happened for corn and wheat.

    It took a global economic meltdown to correct food prices to help reset this stupidity. But it seems these morons (lets call a spade a spade) forgot this fact. All it takes is for watermelons to get expensive, and in poorer countries, you'll have the farmers selling their entire crops to bio-fuel companies.
    • What makes you think that the scientists are ignorant, rather than just uncaring?

      Once you delve into the realm of indirect effects(much less considering your activities in light of what you could do charitably for the same money), a huge number of common day-to-day activities involve the relentless fucking-over of anonymous poor people that you can't see. There are a relatively few people who are really, genuinely consumed by this fact, a lot more who are modestly bothered by it; but don't actually act o
    • Actually, what is happening is that a lot of the acres of food-land that are lost to biofuels, are being replaced by burning down rain forests. The smoke from the burning rain forests more than make up for any reduction in greenhouse gases.

      Now, they are apparently looking at more food-crops to convert to burning rain forests.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 )

      Using food sources for bio-fuels has resulted in people STARVING to death in developing nations. Why can't these intelligent scientists see this?

      Perhaps because these intelligent scientists are intelligent enough to know that this is not true []?

      Anyway, this idea is about using waste biomass for fuel.

      All it takes is for watermelons to get expensive, and in poorer countries, you'll have the farmers selling their entire crops to bio-fuel companies.

      And since no culture relies on watermelons as a basic suste

      • I agree with the first two points, but the third point is valid because if watermelon crops REPLACE sustenance crops for use in biofuel, then you get the same problem.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mr.Fork ( 633378 )
        That article, written Gal Luft, BTW, works for the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, which by the way, worked/advised the Bush administration. Of course he would be advocate that biofuel and food prices are a myth - the members of this group are also pro-biofuel consortium - which may I ask, are you?

        Thank goodness for Muckety.
    • The distinction here is that as far as I know, watermelons are a staple food crop... nowhere... Corn was and continues to be a staple food in many parts of the world, including Mexico--who knows but what if Americans hadn't had their little "biofuel" craze, we wouldn't have what some would call a civil war going on just south of us.

      I think watermelon excess crop use is a great idea--especially if restrictions are made on which watermelons can be used. All this said, it would seem the work on using sugars l

    • Using food sources for bio-fuels has resulted in people STARVING to death in developing nations.

      A butterfly flapping its wings results in people starving to death somewhere in the world...

      Any change in the status quo is going to have consequences. If we were to switch to solar-powered electric cars, there'd be people starving in Saudi Arabia, impoverised former coal miners, etc.

      That doesn't mean we should never change ANYTHING.

      In fact, low-priced food is one of the big criticisms of the US... 3rd world co

    • Food use for fuel is not the reason people are starving. There is more than enough food to go around in this world, people are starving in many cases because they can not safely grow their own or be supplied safely due to civil war and related problems, and in other cases simply because they are too poor to afford it.

      Fuel food is done in the US and Europe, both already food exporters.

  • Do those professors know how much water it's needed to grow watermelons?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by maxume ( 22995 )

      They aren't suggesting growing more watermelons, they are suggesting that the watermelons that are presently left in the field to rot could instead be harvested and sent to a distillery.

      • Earlier posters already commented on the low price for "B grade product", to the point where shipping costs are a significant or overwhelming factor.

        It seems likely that the only way for this to be economical is for the farmer to be the one doing the processing. At which point you may (or may not) also lose economies of scale.

  • Is it a good idea to use food pre-consumption as a serious fuel? There are quite a lot of people who would like food to eat, more so than fuel vehicle or even electricity.

    • Is it a good idea to use food pre-consumption as a serious fuel?

      Should use food post-consumption as biofuel.

      Turning human excrement into biofuel would be fantastic.

      It might even encourage megacorporations to feed the hungry. So that their poop can be harvested and turned into fuel to be sold to the western industrialised world at a huge mark-up.

      This would be delicious irony. Well, ok, not delicious but stinky...

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

        Your idea may sound right, but I don't give a crap.

        • Your idea may sound right, but I don't give a crap.

          Yeah good luck with that when the oil companies come round with a hosepipe and an oil tanker and ask you to bend over.

          They'll be 'tapping' into the enema market around the world -- you mark my words!!!!!

          It'll be "Shell oil is made from feeeeceeeeesssss!!!!! Feces I tell you!!!!".

          (little play on the ending of Soylent Green there).

          • 'little play on the...'

            Aw come on! More than half o this crowd would know, without you pointing *that* out, Mr. Comic Book Guy. Yes, I'd recognize that voice anywhere...

            And not a joke about a biouelf cluster in sight...

  • oh noes! (Score:4, Informative)

    by bigmaddog ( 184845 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @05:07PM (#29223069)

    This is all wonderful, us rich people can continue to drive GMC Yukons or whatever, except it has the same problems as using other foodstuffs for fuel. Oh, sure, you can use the 20% bad watermelons for it, but once watermelon->fuel processing capacity exists, market prices will dictate whether the 80% of good melons go to the grocery store or to the melon refinery, and when the global economy bounces back and fuel prices go up, it'll be just one more thing putting pressure on the food supply. Before anyone says "oh, but watermelons can't be a large part of the global food supply," what happens with cash crops is they end up more valuable than food crops (hence the name) and displace them in the fields.

    And so this whole thing is barking up the wrong tree - the fuel is alternative, but it sure isn't sustainable, just one more squeeze on substance farmers someplace we don't give a damn about.

    • I can eat one of those and make biofuel from it at the same time.
    • market prices will dictate whether the 80% of good melons go to the grocery store or to the melon refinery

      More likely subsidies will dictate their use. Corn would not be used if it wasn't a heavily subsidized way to get votes (it takes more energy to create a gallon of corn-ethanol that you get from using it). You will never see those subsidies go away, because that is how the politions are buying the farmers votes. For every $1 you spend on ethenol, the government gives away something like $30.

  • by 101010_or_0x2A ( 1001372 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @05:24PM (#29223333)
    The queues are long enough at the gas station already without having to wait for people to get EVERY LITTLE SEED out before pumping their cars full..
  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

    Call me when they can run cars with Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jd2112 ( 1535857 )
      It's like having your cylinder head smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Thursday August 27, 2009 @07:16PM (#29224711) Journal
    Although watermelons and corn can make biofuels: I offer you a much better alternative: Kudzu vine. It's already been synthesized into kudzuhol [] Kudzu grows up to a foot a day, it's the vine that ate the south. It just seems a waste to convert perfectly good food to biofuel.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by OwMyBrain ( 1476929 )

      I'm very glad you pointed this out! Ever hear the expression that if you plant kudzu in the back yard, it'll beat you to the porch? This stuff is all over the place hear in Georgia, and it grows so thick that it can suffocate trees. People would probably consider it a great service if someone were to come and remove it. What's better is that it grows all along the highways, not on farm land that should much rather be used for food crops.

      Why are we wasting time and energy (literally) on food crops as fuel wh

  • Rather than grow fields of the fruit for the purpose, the report suggests that farmers capitalize on the 20% of each annual watermelon crop that is left in the field because of surface blemishes or because they are misshapen."

    And what's the likelihood farmers are going sell watermelons for food if they can make more selling them for biofuel?

    Also TFA doesn't say how much ethanol an acre can produce. How does it compare to switchgrass, for instance?


  • Maddness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spacefight ( 577141 ) on Friday August 28, 2009 @04:51AM (#29228235)
    Growing food for producing fuel is just mad. mad. mad.
  • At 147+ comments, I don't yet see a single horrible joke about Gallahger, or a retarded racist stereotype yet. Yes, there are the standard racists troll posts, but none making use of the obvious watermelon reference.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker