Could Shrimp Save the Planet?

Scientists in China have reportedly found a new use for shrimp – developing a catalyst from shrimp shells which could aid production of biodiesel fuel.

In a world increasingly concerned with global warming, there is a growing turn towards more renewable sources of energy. Xinsheng Zheng and colleagues in China have noticed the importance of renewable fuels like biodiesel.

Current biodiesel production processes produce large amounts of waste water, and the catalysts required to speed up the chemical reactions that transform plant oils into diesel fuel cannot be reused. This new research suggests that a catalyst derived from shrimp shells converted canola oil to biodiesel more efficiently, and quickly than some traditional catalysts, and additionally can be reused.

Their study is scheduled for release in the Aug. 20 issue of ACS’ Energy & Fuels.