Scientists in China have found a way to produce a highly efficient catalyst for the production of biodiesel from vegetable oils...using prawn shells. Linguo Yang and his colleagues Hua Zhong Agriculture University in Wuhan, China, have found that if prawn shells (currently discarded by the tonne by the seafood industry) are partially
The major benefit of this approach is that making biodiesel at the moment involves the use of strong acid or alkali catalysts which are potential environmental contaminants and are also hard to recover for reuse from the reaction mixture during each batch of production. This makes the process both economincally and ecologically costly. But the shrimp-shell catalyst retains its activity and is very easy to recover, clean and regenerate, retaining 87% of its original activity even after the ten round of processing!