Academic journal article Science and Children

Engineered Eggshells

Academic journal article Science and Children

Engineered Eggshells

Article excerpt

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.

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L.S. Fan, distinguished professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and former Ohio State University doctoral student Mahesh Iyer came upon the idea when they tried to improve a method of hydrogen production known as 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 key to making pure hydrogen is separating out the carbon dioxide," explains Fan. "In order to do it very economically, we needed a new way of thinking, a new process scheme." That brought Fan and his colleagues to using eggshells, which mostly consist of calcium carbonate. 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. …

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