Generating electricity with chicken feathers is possible and environmentally friendly

Scientists have succeeded in making fuel cells from chicken feathers. Enough to produce green energy while reducing pollution caused by poultry.

Credits: 123RF

What do a chickenL’electricity and the air pollution ? THE feathers. Don’t look for a pun, it’s not a joke. Each year, due to breeding, 40 million tonnes of chicken feathers are incinerated. Their combustion generates a lot of carbon dioxide and of sulfur released into the atmosphere. The ecological issue is real, but for the moment, it is clear that we do not really know what to do with these inevitable organic waste.

Research carried out jointly by theSwiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich in Switzerland andNanyang Technological University in Singapore sought to kill two birds with one stone. Scientific teams have used chicken feathers to create a clean energy source. More precisely, the researchers managed to extract keratin feathers and transform them into extremely fine fibers called amyloid fibrils.

Scientists create fuel cell membrane from chicken feathers

The fibers thus obtained are then used to create the membrane of a fuel cell. The latter produces electricity from hydrogen and oxygen. Since these substances are not considered air pollutants, the electricity produced can be described as “clean”. Let us remember thata fuel cell is not a battery, as it does not store energy. On the other hand, it will continue to make them as long as it is powered.

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Keratin represents 90% of a chicken feather. It is an abundant resource which is of certain ecological interest. Furthermore, according to researchers’ estimates, their membrane costs 3 times less to produce than those usually used. However, is this the ideal solution? Not yet. It takes a lot of energy to produce the hydrogen needed by the fuel cell to deliver electricity. While waiting to remedy this, we can always try to create energy with air.

Source: L’Usine Nouvelle

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