Saturday December 7, 2019
Home Lead Story Reinvent Hous...

Reinvent House Painting Using Christmas Trees

Fresh trees and older, abandoned Christmas trees can both be used, according to the researchers.

0
//
The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is lit up during a ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 6, 2016. VOA

The use of a Christmas tree could soon go beyond the festive period as researchers have found that useful products such as paint and food sweeteners can be made from the chemicals extracted from pine needles used in the tree.

“The tree that decorated your house over the festive period could be turned into paint to decorate your house once again,” said researcher Cynthia Kartey from the University of Sheffield in Britain.

Christmas trees have hundreds of thousands of pine needles which take a long time to decompose compared to other tree leaves. When they rot, they emit huge quantities of greenhouse gases which then contribute to the carbon footprint.

CHristmas Tree
The process is sustainable and creates zero waste Pixabay

The major component (up to 85 per cent) of pine needles is a complex polymer known as lignocellulose. The complexity of this polymer makes using pine needles as a product for biomass energy unattractive and useless to most industrial processes.

“My research has been focused on the breakdown of this complex structure into simple, high-valued industrial chemical feedstocks such as sugars and phenolics, which are used in products like household cleaners and mouthwash,” said Cynthia.

The new research showed that with the aid of heat and solvents such as glycerol, which is cheap and environmentally friendly, the chemical structure of pine needles can be broken down into a liquid product (bio-oil) and a solid by-product (bio-char).

Christmas Tree
These chemicals are used in many industries. Pixabay

The bio-oil typically contains glucose, acetic acid and phenol. These chemicals are used in many industries — glucose in the production of sweeteners for food, acetic acid for making paint, adhesives and even vinegar.

The process is sustainable and creates zero waste as the solid by-product can be useful too in other industrial chemical processes, the University of Sheffield said in a statement on Thursday.

Also Read: Paint, Varnish Exposure may Increase Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

Fresh trees and older, abandoned Christmas trees can both be used, according to the researchers. (IANS)

Next Story

This New Material Can Capture Pollutants And Convert Them Into Useful Industrial Chemicals

New material turns toxic air pollutants into industrial chemicals

0
Industrial chemicals
The metal-organic framework (MOF) material can convert pollutants into industrial chemicals. Pixabay

An international team of scientists has developed a new material that can capture a toxic pollutant produced by burning fossil fuels and convert it into useful industrial chemicals using only water and air.

The technology could lead to air pollution control and help remedy the negative impact nitrogen dioxide has on the environment.

The metal-organic framework (MOF) material provides a selective, fully reversible and repeatable capability to capture nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic air pollutant produced particularly by diesel and bio-fuel use, said the study published in the journal Nature Chemistry.

The NO2 can then be easily converted into nitric acid, a multi-billion dollar industry with uses including, agricultural fertiliser for crops; rocket propellant and nylon.

MOFs are tiny three-dimensional structures which are porous and can trap gasses inside, acting like cages.

“This is the first MOF to both capture and convert a toxic, gaseous air pollutant into a useful industrial commodity,” said Sihai Yang, a lead author and a senior lecturer at University of Manchester in Britain.

Pollutants into industrial chemicals
MOFs are tiny three-dimensional structures which can trap gasses inside and convert them into idustrial chemicals. Pixabay

“It is also interesting that the highest rate of nitrogen dioxide uptake by this MOF occurs at around 45 degrees Centigrade, which is about the temperature of automobile exhausts.”

The material, named MFM-520, can capture nitrogen dioxide at ambient pressures and temperatures — even at low concentrations and during flow — in the presence of moisture, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, said the study.

The highly efficient mechanism in this new MOF was characterised by researchers using neutron scattering and synchrotron X-ray diffraction at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Berkeley National Laboratory, respectively.

Also Read- Pollution Causes Skin Related Problems: Health Experts

The team also used the National Service for Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectroscopy at Manchester to study the mechanism of adsorption of nitrogen dioxide in MFM-520.

“The global market for nitric acid in 2016 was $2.5 billion, so there is a lot of potential for manufacturers of this MOF technology to recoup their costs and profit from the resulting nitric acid production. Especially since the only additives required are water and air,” Martin Schroder, Professor at University of Manchester. (IANS)