Valorisation of shellfish shell waste (FS113)


This project plans to deliver a desk-based scoping study, chemical analysis of shell waste, and investigation into existing crushing machinery commercially available. to determine opportunities to re-use shellfish shell waste.

Funding Amount:


Duration of Project:

5 Months

Project Outcome:

Based on literature and local knowledge, the most feasible shell valorisation streams for Northern Ireland would be in agriculture, aggregates and construction. The scenarios investigated in this project for value chain analysis and life cycle assessment reflect the fact that the shellfish industry is keen to support valorisation of shell waste. The industry recognises the ecological and economic costs of shell as waste and support valorisation of shell waste to provide valuable products.

Three species of shellfish were investigated, though scallops and oysters represent the main source of shell available for valorisation. Chemical screening indicated that the heavy metal values fall well below the regulatory thresholds for the liming materials outlined in the European Union’s regulations for Fertilising Products. Consequently, it would be feasible to undertake field trials to ascertain the suitability of these materials as an agricultural soil additive.

The value chain analysis component provided shell quantity information. We estimated the annual average shell by-products per tonne for NI and the other nations to estimate a range of shell quantities that could be available. Cost analysis was estimated, and initial results show that based on production and transportation costs, and applying the estimated shell by-products available across NI and ROI, a shell valorisation could be economical.

In the LCA component of the project we estimated the current environmental footprint of oyster and mussel production in NI.  When compared to other seafood and livestock animal foods, this highlights the low environmental footprint of bivalve aquaculture.

STATUS: Completed

Project Lead

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute