Sustainable biofuel from waste peaches

Caye Drapcho
Biosystems Engineer, Clemson University

My name is Dr. Caye Drapcho and I am an associate professor of Biosystems Engineering at Clemson University. I'm conducting research on different ways that we can produce sustainable biofuels to help our nation get off of it's fossil fuel addiction.

This line of research was brought to us by the Peach Council in South Carolina. They were very forward thinking in their thought that they are wasting about ten percent of their fresh fruit harvest every year simply because it's not perfect. There are still a lot of sugars available in those waste, cull peaches that we can ferment into biofuel. Our project looks at those waste peaches and converts them into hydrogen gas, which can then be a sustainable biofuel for the future. 

A lot of times we want to strike another oil well, we want to have free energy gushing out of the ground and that's really not what our future energy needs are going to be met by; it's going to be multiple, diffuse energy sources that will meet that need.  

For South Carolina and for an individual peach producer, the impact is going to be substantial. We have estimated for one peach grower it would be about a ten thousand dollar per year savings. If we multiply that by any harvest of any fresh fruit or vegetable, it could have a nationwide impact that would help us move toward energy sustainability.