New approach to mining Extracting glassmaking raw materials from food waste UpdatedNew approach to mining Extracting glassmaking raw materials from food waste Updated

27/11/2013

The mission of mining schools is to research new and better ways of extracting useful raw materials to manufacture products. Usually, miners look into the earth for sources of valuable minerals. Researchers at the Colorado School of Mines, expanding the definition of mining, have discovered that the earth will deliver minerals to them in the form of agricultural byproducts.

The food processing industry has a significant problem with waste. The Bible parable about “separating the wheat from the chaff” makes clear what will happen with the “chaff” of the spiritual realm. In the physical realm, chaff disposal is a big problem. Researchers have been working on finding a feasible use for rice hulls and other food wastes at least since the 1990s.

CSM researchers recently filed a provisional patent on a new process for extracting mineral content from a wide variety of food wastes. In a phone interview, Ivan Cornejo said the idea to investigate the mineral content of plant matter came to him when he heard a story on National Public Radio about a calcium carbonate deposit that had been discovered in Britain. According to the report, it was shallow (close to the surface) and, therefore, easy to mine. Unfortunately, there was a natural forest growing on top of it. Cornejo says, “The local government weighed the pros and cons and, in the end, decided to destroy the forest.” That got him thinking. “I knew calcium could be found in waste, so I thought maybe other minerals could be found, too,” he says.

Cornejo and Ivar Reimanis, along with postdoctoral researcher Subramanian Ramalingam, looked at a variety of food and agricultural wastes and realized they contain useful, extractable amounts of oxides, especially silica, the primary constituent in glass. It turns out the inorganic ash of food waste can provide most of the requisite constituents for ordinary soda-lime-silica glass and perhaps some specialty glass compositions, too. For example, silica is found in rice husks, peanut shells, and corn husks and stems. Peanut shells also contain soda, potassium oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, and phosphorous oxide. Corn stalk waste yields soda and potassium oxide. Eggshells are rich in calcium oxide. Finding a source of alumina was the most challenging, but eventually the scientists found a plentiful one—tea. Useful minerals also are found in banana peels, coconut shells, tomato waste, wheat husks, etc.

Source: American Ceramic Society Bulletin

More: Enlace

The mission of mining schools is to research new and better ways of extracting useful raw materials to manufacture products. Usually, miners look into the earth for sources of valuable minerals. Researchers at the Colorado School of Mines, expanding the definition of mining, have discovered that the earth will deliver minerals to them in the form of agricultural byproducts.

The food processing industry has a significant problem with waste. The Bible parable about “separating the wheat from the chaff” makes clear what will happen with the “chaff” of the spiritual realm. In the physical realm, chaff disposal is a big problem. Researchers have been working on finding a feasible use for rice hulls and other food wastes at least since the 1990s.

CSM researchers recently filed a provisional patent on a new process for extracting mineral content from a wide variety of food wastes. In a phone interview, Ivan Cornejo said the idea to investigate the mineral content of plant matter came to him when he heard a story on National Public Radio about a calcium carbonate deposit that had been discovered in Britain. According to the report, it was shallow (close to the surface) and, therefore, easy to mine. Unfortunately, there was a natural forest growing on top of it. Cornejo says, “The local government weighed the pros and cons and, in the end, decided to destroy the forest.” That got him thinking. “I knew calcium could be found in waste, so I thought maybe other minerals could be found, too,” he says.

Cornejo and Ivar Reimanis, along with postdoctoral researcher Subramanian Ramalingam, looked at a variety of food and agricultural wastes and realized they contain useful, extractable amounts of oxides, especially silica, the primary constituent in glass. It turns out the inorganic ash of food waste can provide most of the requisite constituents for ordinary soda-lime-silica glass and perhaps some specialty glass compositions, too. For example, silica is found in rice husks, peanut shells, and corn husks and stems. Peanut shells also contain soda, potassium oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, and phosphorous oxide. Corn stalk waste yields soda and potassium oxide. Eggshells are rich in calcium oxide. Finding a source of alumina was the most challenging, but eventually the scientists found a plentiful one—tea. Useful minerals also are found in banana peels, coconut shells, tomato waste, wheat husks, etc.

Fuente: American Ceramic Society Bulletin

Más: Enlace

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