Orange Peels to Methanol for Florida Fuel Cell

Fuel cell developer ENER1 received a $550,000 award from the Florida Hydrogen Initiative to develop a renewable energy source that will power a rest area on an interstate highway. The company’s 10 KW fuel cell based energy source will use methanol created from Florida’s two largest industries — food waste from theme parks and orange peels from citrus processing.

“HyTech Rest Area”, which is the name for the project, should be completed within the next 18 months, and will be used as an example of Florida’s commitment to developing its hydrogen infrastructure. The project will provide a demonstration and test-bed for the technology, will act as a sustainable energy “road show” for tourists and commuters, and serve as a briefing center for state agencies and local government entities looking to deploy this technology for their own projects. “This landmark project allows us to publicly demonstrate how our renewable energy technology translates directly into applications that can have an immediate impact on the environment, and the energy needs facing Florida and other parts of the world,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, CEO of ENER1. “This is just a single application, but one that can be duplicated wherever the need exists. We look forward to working closely with the Florida Hydrogen Initiative and representatives of the citrus industry to show the potential of this technology.” The Project’s renewable energy solution also provides the ancillary benefits of developing an important secondary market for citrus growers, and an environmentally beneficial solution to processing waste. The current waste management systems convert biomass waste, such as orange peels, seeds, rags, pulp and peel oil, into molasses and cattle feed. Market value for those products is less than the costs of running the processing plants.
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