Research suggests beneficial ways to reuse industrial waste

Research suggests beneficial ways to reuse industrial waste

Abstract graphic. Credit: Science of the Total Environment (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.161550

Money can be earned – and potentially reduced greenhouse gas emissions – by finding a second life for potato skins, fried dough particles, cheese whey and waste products, according to a new study. Other industrial food processing wastes often end up in landfills. .

Scientists have taken the first step in estimating the best large-scale use for food processing trashfirst analyze its contents and, based on those findings, propose production opportunities ranging from sustainable fuels, biogas and electricity to useful chemicals and organic fertilizers.

This work is called stabilizing or determining the potential value of something that “isn’t worth or even drains a company’s resources—” says Katrina Cornish, lead author of the study. when you have to spend money to get rid of it”. Researcher and professor of horticultural and plant and food sciences, agricultural engineering, and biology at Ohio State University.

“The bioeconomy is becoming much more popular as a topic of conversation. In this case, don’t dismiss it. food waste—make some money out of it,” said Cornish, also an Ohio Research Scholar in Emerging Biomaterials. “Here, we are laying the groundwork for food manufacturers who are self-funding. asked, ‘What can I do with this? ‘ Our flowchart guides them in a particular direction and prevents them from wasting time trying something we know won’t work.”

The study was recently published online in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

About 2% of the 80 billion pounds of food discarded annually in the United States is caused by food production and processing—with solids from food waste sent to landfill or composting, and liquid poured into the sewer.

For the study, the researchers collected a total of 46 waste samples, including 14 from major Ohio food processing companies, and divided them into four main categories: vegetable, high-fat, industrial sludge and starch. They then characterized the physical and chemical properties of the sample components and tested a number of starch wastes, which they identified as good candidates for fermentation to the base chemical acetone.

In the big picture, a waste’s energy density—based on calorific value—and its carbon-to-nitrogen ratio are the key factors that determine its reuse potential. For example, fatty and mineral wastes can be anaerobically decomposed to produce biogas and soybean waste with sufficient energy density to be used for biodiesel production.

Plant waste with low calorific value is not good for energy productionbut they are rich sources of organic flavonoids, antioxidants and pigments that can be extracted and used in health-promoting compounds.

Based on analysis of fiber- and mineral-rich waste, Cornish has put into practice what she’s preaching: Her lab has developed a method for turning eggshells and tomato skins sourced from Ohio food production as a filler in rubber products, partially replacing petroleum-based carbon black in tires, for example.

“We linked this work to the goal of the Environmental Protection Agency,” said first author Beenish Saba, a postdoctoral researcher in food, agricultural and biological engineering at Ohio State. to reduce food loss and waste by 50% by 2030”. “So how can you reduce this waste? Valuation is a method.

“In Ohio, corn is being grown for conversion to biofuels, acetone and butanol, and here we’ve identified other sources that are already available as waste that you can also convert into products that product.”

The proposed conversion technologies require energy to operate and also generate some secondary waste, but the stabilization model lays the groundwork for subsequent “end-to-end” analyzes that will help quantify The environmental benefits of large-scale food—and other industries—reduce waste, says Saba.

While this study is just a starting point, it would ideally encourage food manufacturers to consider the possibility of making something from existing waste products, the researchers say. are considered waste.

“What we hope will happen is that food manufacturers will really look at their costs and their footprint, and see which approach to their particular waste will be most effective—the whichever approach will be the least financially negative and preferably profitable, while minimizing any carbon footprint,” Cornish said. “In terms of global warming, any waste that can be valued has a direct impact on global warming as it has a direct impact on emissions and ecosystems.

“This is all about improving Energy security and reduce the financial and environmental impact of food waste management,” she says. “If your waste is valuable enough for you to do something about it to prevent it from going to landfill,” she says. , that’s a really good thing.”

More information:
Beenish Saba et al, Characterization and stabilization of industrial food processing waste, Science of the Total Environment (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.161550

quote: Study suggesting beneficial ways to reuse industrial waste (2023, January 25) accessed January 25, 2023 from -ways-repurpose-industrial.html

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