Oranges Turned into Biofuel

February 23, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. spoiled /ˌspɔɪld/ (adj.) – referring to food that is no longer fresh and edible
Example: Bruises on an apple show that it is already spoiled.

2. biodegradable /ˌbaɪ oʊ dɪˈgreɪ də bəl/ (adj.) – being able to break down into small, natural components
Example: Plastic is not biodegradable.

3. alternative /ɔlˈtɜr nə tɪv, æl-/ (n.) – something that can be used as an option to another
Example: An ecofriendly alternative to a car is a bike.

4. corrosive /kəˈroʊ sɪv/ (adj.) – causing damage due to chemical reaction, often in metals
Example: You should avoid using corrosive chemicals on metals.

5. decay /dɪˈkeɪ/ (v.) – to rot or corrode because of bacteria
Example: Eating too many sweets and hard food can cause one's teeth to easily decay. 


Read the text below.
Japanese scientists have developed a biofuel made from spoiled oranges. 

Bioengineering professors from the Graduate School and Faculty of Bioresources in Mie [mahy] University have discovered a process to convert rotten oranges into a practical source of biodiesel. By combining their orange-based biodiesel with regular fuel, the researchers were able to run a remote-controlled vehicle. Biofuel can be particularly useful to farmers, as it can power up farming machines such as mowers and tractors.

There are two kinds of biofuels—biodiesel and bioethanol [BAHY-oh ETH-uh-nawl, -nol]. Biodiesel can be a substitute for standard diesel fuel. It can be made from animal fats and natural oils such as vegetable oil and soybean oil. On the other hand, bioethanol is an alcohol-based substance produced from biodegradable food wastes such as corn bones, potato skin, and discarded vegetables. Compared with diesel fuel, both biodiesel and bioethanol are more sustainable and ecofriendly.

Manufacturing biofuels, however, is considered costly. It requires construction of specially-made machines and power plants in order to mass produce it. Furthermore, making biofuel as an everyday resource may lead to food shortages and price hikes for natural produce, such as fruits and vegetables.

Nonetheless, the researchers believe that their discovery may provide an alternative fuel source that is affordable, abundant, and environment-friendly. This is because their biodiesel can be made using only rotten oranges. Also, unlike bioethanol, the orange-based biofuel is less corrosive and is therefore less likely to cause metal parts to decay.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Is biofuel readily available in your country? Why is this so?
·         Would you use alternative fuel for your vehicle or machines? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Please describe waste management in your country. Would you say it is effective?
·         What do you think is the biggest obstacle to proper waste management?

February 23, 2015