Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Engineered Eggshells To Help Make Hydrogen Fuel

Date:
September 30, 2007
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Engineers 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.

Ohio State University researchers have found a way to turn discarded chicken eggshells into an alternative energy resource. Here doctoral student Shwetha Ramkumar (left) holds samples of eggshell, while project leader L.S. Fan (right) looks on. Fan is Distinguished University Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the university.
Credit: Photo by Kevin Fitzsimons, courtesy of Ohio State University

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Engineered Eggshells To Help Make Hydrogen Fuel." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926113832.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2007, September 30). Engineered Eggshells To Help Make Hydrogen Fuel. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926113832.htm
Ohio State University. "Engineered Eggshells To Help Make Hydrogen Fuel." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070926113832.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

3 Reasons Why Harley Davidson Is Selling Tons of Epic Hogs

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) Sales of motorcycles have continued to ride back from the depths of hell known as the Great Recession. Excluding scooters, sales of motorcycles increased 3% in 2013. In units, however, at 465,000 sold last year, the total remained about 50% below the peak hit in 2007. Industry leader Harley Davidson’s shareholders have benefited both by the industry recovery and positive headlines emanating from the company. Belus Capital Advisors CEO Brian Sozzi takes you beyond the headlines of the motorcycle maker. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins