The Nature Bible

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Invention · Travel

It's a Jam






In the UK we tend to use Seville oranges to make marmalade whereas around the world they're used in sweets, perfumes and they make up the key ingredients in Grande Marnier and Cointreau, but a new scheme has been launched to produce an entirely different product from the fruit - electricity!


Around now, during springtime (late February, early March) over 45,000 trees in the southern Spanish city give off a wonderful fragrant blossom, but the smell on the streets is not so sweet after their 5.7kilos of beautiful, ripe oranges, fall and create a hazard below. However, Emasesa, Seville's municipal water company has come up with a pilot scheme to use 35 tonnes of the fruit to generate clean energy, which will run one of the city's water purification plants. They already have a facility that generates electricity from organic matter so the methane captured as the oranges ferment will be used to drive the generator. With so many oranges, if all goes well, they eventually hope to return surplus electricity back to the grid, calculating that around 73,000 homes could be powered if all of the city's oranges were recycled!*


Enrique Vaquerizo, head of residual waters at Emasesa, said in a statement. "Through the pilot, we are transforming a plant that used to consume a lot of energy to now starting to produce it."


Seville's Mayor Juan Espadas said the pilot will help to reduce the city's greenhouse emissions, push for a circular economy and allow the water plant to become an energy producer, using the surplus for the city's needs. The project follows other environmental initiatives in Seville, such as a recent plan to save and reuse water to tackle rising temperatures.



NB: *One small bear's hoping there will be a few left for his marmalade sandwiches...