Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Production Research
Research students make Research students make “green” product from biodiesel, wine products


March 12, 2008
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

A team of undergraduate
engineering students at Oregon State University has discovered that
blending byproducts from biodiesel production and winemaking produces
an environmentally friendly polymer that could one day replace
polystyrene foam meat trays in supermarkets.

A team of undergraduate engineering students at Oregon State University has discovered that blending byproducts from biodiesel production and winemaking produces an environmentally friendly polymer that could one day replace polystyrene foam meat trays in supermarkets. It may also be valuable in the manufacture of furniture, particle board, fire logs, insulation and even hair gel. Christen Glarborg, Patrick O’Connor, Heather Paris and Alana Warner-Tuhy – all seniors studying chemical engineering – delved into combining glycerine, a byproduct of biodiesel production, and tartaric acid, a byproduct of wine production. Their first experiments resulted in a rock-hard mess, similar to what develops when cooking taffy too long. The young researchers persevered until they produced more manageable glue, which they decided to try mixing with other byproducts such as sawdust and woodchips. The students are now focused on testing and refining the polymer for strength and biodegradability.

Advertisment