UBC chemist turns lobster leftovers into batteries

Motherboard reported on work by Mark MacLachlan, a UBC chemistry professor, who found a way to turn the exoskeletons of lobsters, crabs and shrimp into biodegradable plastics and battery parts.

The method involves heating up chitin – what’s left behind after calcium carbonate and protein is removed from the lobster shells – to burn off the nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen. The remaining carbon can be used to make battery parts.

For now though, the technology is still too expensive for commercial use.

“Right now, it’s quite a bit cheaper to produce from natural gas or oil,” MacLachlan said.

A similar story appeared on CTVMetro News and Castanet.