New biofuel from cactus plants called “green gold”

March 24, 2019 |

In Mexico, Nopalimex is taking the prickly pear cactus, or Opuntia, pulping its flesh, fermenting it and mixing it with manure to create methane and water and converting it to biofuel. Nopalimex is now supplying the fuel to Zitácuaro city authorities to use in a fleet of its vehicles, according to World Economic Forum. “At a cost of just $0.65 (or 12 pesos) per litre, it’s about one-third cheaper than standard gasoline or diesel and burns considerably cleaner.”

The Opuntia is found in marginal land and not eaten on an industrial scale, which means it isn’t competing against food production. The cactus is also being looked at as a plastic alternative by research scientist Sandra Pascoe of the University of the Valley of Atemajac. “The juice contains monosaccharides and polysaccharides, which can be combined with glycerol, natural waxes and proteins to create a liquid that forms into plasticky sheets,” according to World Economic Forum. “Unlike regular plastic, the nopal juice alternative decomposes naturally when buried, which could help in the fight against plastic pollution.”

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Category: Producer News

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