Move over corn. There’s a new sheriff in Ethanol City and his name is Watermelon. Every year, famers leave about 800 million pounds of watermelons to rot; the fabled orbs simply weren’t perfect enough for persnickety melon buyers. According to Automotive Fleet, USDA scientists in Lane, Oklahoma are converting melon juice from the abandoned fruit into ethanol. Researchers have determined that a 20-pound watermelon can yield about 1.4 pounds of sugar, which can be converted into ethanol more easily than corn. Allegedly. Common Sense Agriculture, a small biofuels company in College Station, Texas, is developing an in-field, watermelon-to-ethanol conversion machine for next season. They don’t say how much ethanol the equipment will have to produce to offset the fuel used to get to the melons, make the conversion and transport the liquid back to base. Here’s hoping this doesn’t lead to any watermelon riots, as Fourth of July and Labor Day picnickers protest a shortage of their fruit of choice.
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