Chicken market is very big in the country. Its demand is also high. But along with its demand, another problem arises, that is the waste generated from it. After chickens are hatched, their feathers come out as waste. Every year 40 million tonnes of feathers are produced in India, which are burnt for disposal. Burning it releases a large amount of carbon dioxide gas. Along with this, toxic gases like sulfur dioxide are also released. But now the solution to this problem has come out. Researchers at ETH Zurich and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore are using chicken feathers to make fuel cells more affordable and sustainable.
Researchers from ETH Zurich and Nanyang Technological University Singapore have now found a better way to make better use of these fans. Under this, researchers extracted the protein keratin from feathers in an environmentally friendly manner and converted it into ultra-fine fibers known as amyloid fibrils. These keratin fibers are used to fuel cell membranes. These fuel cells generate carbon dioxide-free electricity from hydrogen and oxygen. which releases only heat and water.
Chicken feathers can play an important role
Thus, chicken feathers can play an important role as a source of sustainable energy in the future. At the center of each fuel cell is a semipermeable membrane. It allows protons to pass but blocks electrons. Because of which they are forced to flow through an external circuit from the negatively charged anode to the positively charged cathode, thereby generating electricity. Usually before, this type of fuel was made using chemicals which are very expensive and harmful to the environment. But the membrane developed by the ETH and NTU researchers consists mainly of organic keratin, which is environmentally friendly and available in abundance.
Carbon dioxide production will be less
Chicken feathers contain 90 percent keratin. This means that lab-made membranes are already three times cheaper than conventional membranes. According to an English website, Professor Raphael Mezenga of ETH Zurich said he has researched renewable energy systems using food waste. “To make fuel we are taking a substance that emits CO2 and toxic gases when burned and using it in a different environment,” he said. But the new technology used this time reduces the production of CO2.
Further investigation is underway
Now researchers are investigating how stable and durable keratin membranes are. Also, if it is needed, it should be improved. The research team has already filed a joint patent for the membrane and is now looking for investors to further develop the technology and bring it to market.