Portuguese researchers “walk on eggshells” for a better world

Scientists working out of Aveiro University have come up with an innovative way forward with eggshells.
They have discovered a way to turn crushed eggshells into ceramic products, like tiles.
The new technology would not only keep eggshells away from landfills – Portugal currently produces about 2600 tons of eggshell waste per year, which costs up to €122 per ton for transport and treatment – it would also save the ceramics industry huge amounts of money.
One of the brains behind the project, Mexican/Spanish biophysicist Dr Alejandro Heredia told us how it is the natural calcite in eggshells that got scientists so excited.
“It is actually very hard when compared to ceramics,” he explained.
Normally, calcite has to be mined, which costs money and of course carries environmental consequences.
“Eggshells, however, can be produced in a matter of hours at room temperature from serum and other components,” he told us.
Thus a full-steam-ahead pilot project is underway at Aveiro University and a research programme in Mexico.
Researchers are incorporating eggshells into ceramic slurry which is subsequently processed “according to a specific protocol that includes a 3-cycle cooking phase.”
The innovation is “very exciting”, says Dr Heredia. “I hope we can bring some social retribution to improve somehow the social conditions in our planet.”
Another advantage, explains Gizmag online website, is that food companies will now be able to make money by selling eggshells to the ceramics industry.
And if they end up with an ‘eggshell mountain’, there’s a second research project using eggshells – this time to fight global warming.
The University of Calcutta has found that the membrane that lines an eggshell can absorb almost seven times its own weight of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere…