Clemson researcher makes biofuel from rotten peaches

By Peter Kent

researcher Caye Drapcho in a laboratory, photo by Peter KentWhat’s brewing in Caye Drapcho’s bioreactor may well be a fuel of the future. Drapcho, a biosystems engineer, is investigating a bacterium that produces hydrogen. The microbe is called Thermotoga neapolitana. And it has a taste for peaches, especially rotten ones.

Working with the South Carolina Peach Council, we have found that peaches not suited for consumer sale can be converted to a biofuel by this bacteria,” said rapcho. “Peach waste has substantial organic value with a high percentage of sugars that can be converted to hydrogen gas.”

video of peach researchMore than 200 million pounds of peaches are harvested annually in South Carolina, the nation’s No. 2 peach producer behind California, and approximately 20 million pounds of damaged peaches are discarded. This research may help turn crop losses into fuel.

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Caye Drapcho: Biofuel from rotten peaches

For information: Caye Drapcho, 864-656-0378,