This project aims to extract chitin from shellfish waste, to convert it into carbon for use in battery storage technology.
Recycling Ocean Resources SRL (ROR) was awarded £49,035 by SIF to conduct a three-tiered feasibility study named ‘From crustacean waste to battery electrodes’. This project was conducted in collaboration with Swansea University, the University of Exeter, TU Eindhoven and ULB Brussels. Researchers at ULB Brussels focused on the extraction processes of chitin (a natural polymer) from crab waste, by comparing enzymatic, chemical and microbial techniques in laboratory conditions. It was found that the microbial extraction provided the most beneficial pathway to commercialisation both from economic and environmental perspectives. A techno-economic assessment was provided, offering a cost overview for plants and equipment and financial forecasting plans. Researchers at Swansea University and TU Eindhoven focused on the conversion of chitin to bio-carbon with the specific aim to integrate the bio-carbon as an alternative to fossil-based electrodes in Vanadium Redox Flow batteries. Laboratory experiments focused on the production of hydrochar, electromechanical properties, yields and hydrothermal processing using chitin. The study resulted in recommendations for the usage of bio-carbon beyond battery technology and offered a clear overview to a production pathway.
The project also focused on researching the attitudes of UK stakeholders in the fishery industry and access to marine waste, with a focus on crab. In collaboration with the University of Exeter, it was concluded that the UK fisheries and crab producers face substantial cost burdens in relation to managing waste and ROR’s project could result in cost savings of more than £2 million for the UK fisheries industry. The South-West and Scotland were identified as two possible regions for ROR to construct production plants. This would result into the creation of 50 new jobs in the chosen region.
Recycling Ocean Resources SRL