SCIENTISTS FROM the City University Hong Kong have discovered a way to turn food waste into a valuable plastic substance, graphene, which has the potential to revolutionise packaging innovation.
In the wake of this discovery, the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), has launched ‘PlastCarb’, a project that will create graphene, using biogas that is emitted form decomposing food waste. Graphene is lightweight and strong and is used in a range of ways including strengthening tennis rackets, spray on radiators and building solar cells.
‘PlastCarb’ provides a sustainable method towards dealing with the vast amount of food waste generated across the world. In the European Union alone, it is estimated that 90 million tons of food is wasted each year, which could rise to approximately 126 million tons by 2020 and, in the UK, food waste incurs a financial loss to businesses of at least £5 billion every year.
Dr Keith Robson, Director of Formulation and Flexible Manufacturing at CPI said: “PlasCarb will provide an innovative solution to the problems associated with food waste, which is one of the biggest challenges that the European Union faces in the strive towards a low carbon economy.
“The project will not only seek to reduce food waste but also use new technological methods to turn it into renewable energy resources which themselves are of economic value, and all within a sustainable manner.”
PlasCarb is a three year collaborative project, co-funded under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and will further reinforce Europe’s leading position in environmental technologies and innovation in high value Carbon.