Common or garden straw could be a rich source of raw materials for a range of industries, from the health foods and cosmetics sectors to packaging and fabrics.
Researchers at the University of Wales, Bangor are developing environmentally friendly ways of processing wheat and other cereal straws to extract valuable products for industry.
The work is being carried out through the Government’s LINK scheme, with funding from the Swindon based Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Government’s department for rural affairs and several industrial partners.
“Some 10 million tonnes of wheat straw is produced annually in the UK, for which there is a market for about 20 per cent,” says Dr Jeremy Tomkinson, who is leading the research. “In the past the unwanted straw was burned, but since that was outlawed it is now generally chopped up by the harvesting machine and ploughed back into the land.” While some types of soil can assimilate the straw easily in this way, heavier, clay-based soils do not rot it down so well, raising doubts about the long-term sustainability of the practice.
“The key to abstracting maximum value from the straw is to remove the various products sequentially whilst leaving the remaining ones intact,” says Dr Tomkinson.
“The emphasis is on environmentally benign processes that are as straightforward as possible,” says Dr Tomkinson. “If there is too much rocket science involved business people will not be interested because it is too risky. But you do have to design the process carefully so that you obtain the products you want. We are working closely with our industrial partners so that at every stage we know what industry requires and we can tailor the processes to meet those demands.”
Jane Reck | alphagalileo
Cascading use is also beneficial for wood
11.12.2017 | Technische Universität München
The future of crop engineering
08.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences