Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Engineered eggshells to help make hydrogen fuel

28.09.2007
Engineers at Ohio State University have found a way to turn discarded chicken eggshells into an alternative energy resource.

The patented process uses eggshells to soak up carbon dioxide from a reaction that produces hydrogen fuel. It also includes a unique method for peeling the collagen-containing membrane from the inside of the shells, so that the collagen can be used commercially.

L.S. Fan, Distinguished University Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Ohio State, said that he and former Ohio State doctoral student, Mahesh Iyer, hit upon the idea when they were trying to improve a method of hydrogen production called the water-gas-shift reaction. With this method, fossil fuels such as coal are gasified to produce carbon monoxide gas, which then combines with water to produce carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

The eggshell plays a critical role.

"The key to making pure hydrogen is separating out the carbon dioxide," Fan said. "In order to do it very economically, we needed a new way of thinking, a new process scheme."

That brought them to eggshells, which mostly consist of calcium carbonate -- one of nature's most absorbent materials. It is a common ingredient in calcium supplements and antacids. With heat processing, calcium carbonate becomes calcium oxide, which will then absorb any acidic gas, such as carbon dioxide.

In the laboratory, Fan and his colleagues demonstrated that ground-up eggshells could be used in the water-gas-shift reaction. Iyer performed those early experiments; recent graduate Theresa Vonder Haar also worked on the project for her bachelor's degree honors thesis.

Calcium carbonate –- a key ingredient in the eggshells -- captures 78 percent of carbon dioxide by weight, Fan explained. That means, given equal amounts of carbon dioxide and eggshell, the eggshell would absorb 78 percent of the carbon dioxide.

That makes it the most effective carbon dioxide absorber ever tested.

Energy experts believe that hydrogen may become an important power source in the future, most notably in the form of fuel cells. But first, researchers must develop affordable ways to produce large quantities of hydrogen -- and that means finding ways to deal with the byproducts of chemical reactions that produce the gas.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the country produced nearly 91 billion eggs in 2006. That equates to about 455,000 tons of shell per year that could potentially be used in hydrogen production.

Still, Fan said, even if all that shell were utilized, it would only provide a portion of what the United States would need to seriously pursue a hydrogen economy.

"Eggshell alone may not be adequate to produce hydrogen for the whole country, but at least we can use eggshell in a better way compared to dumping it as organic waste in landfills, where companies have to pay up to $40 dollars per ton disposal cost," he said.

Before they could grind up the egg shell, the engineers needed to remove the collagen-containing membrane that clings to the inside; they developed an organic acid that does the job. About 10 percent of the membrane consists of collagen, which sells for about $ 1000/gram. This collagen, once extracted, can be used in food or pharmaceuticals, or for medical treatments. Doctors use collagen to help burn victims regenerate skin; it's also used in cosmetic surgery.

"We like that our technology can help the egg industry to dispose of its waste, and at the same time convert the waste to a useful product," Fan said.

"And in the long term, we're demonstrating that carbon-based fuel sources, like coal or biomass, can be efficiently converted to hydrogen and liquid fuel. The goal is an energy conversion system that uses a dependable fossil energy source, but at the same time has very little environmental impact."

Fan is currently working with a major egg company to produce large quantities of the eggshell granules for testing. The university plans to license the technology for further development.

L.S. Fan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Did you know that the wrapping of Easter eggs benefits from specialty light sources?
13.04.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

nachricht To e-, or not to e-, the question for the exotic 'Si-III' phase of silicon
05.04.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>