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A multi-partner UK R&D project that developed a method for de-polluting printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing waste has won an important environmental award. The Sustainable Treatment of Waste Using Recycled Chitosans (STOWURC) project had a focus on developing sustainable materials and processes that used waste products from the seafood industry to treat effluent, and recover metals, from the PCB and related industries.
The Env-Aqua Team: L to R; Professor Martin Goosey, Dr Emma Goosey and Dr Rod Kellner
The PCB industry is well known for using chemical processes that generate expensive-to-treat waste products. The shells of crabs, and other crustaceans, are a source of materials known as chitosans which can absorb metals such as copper, found in typical PCB manufacturing effluent. The UK's seafood industry generates large volumes of shellfish waste and the project used this waste to produce chitosan-based materials that could sustainably treat effluent, while also enabling the captured metals to be recycled.
On Friday, 30 September, members of the Env-Aqua Solutions team, who led the project, attended the Surface Engineering and Heat Treatment Associations' Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony at the Midland Hotel in Manchester. Already knowing that they were one of three finalists, the team were delighted to learn that they had subsequently won the Environmental Award. The awards were presented by Lord Hoyle of Warrington in a ceremony led by the SEA's Honorary President, Mrs Linda Evans MBE. Dr Emma Goosey collected the award on behalf of Env-Aqua and the STOWURC project consortium, which comprised Env-Aqua Solutions, Kynance Cornish Crab, Institute of Circuit Technology, Surface Engineering Association, A-Gas Electronic Materials, Amphenol-Invotec and C-Tech innovation.
The project partners have subsequently identified additional international interest in using chitosan-based materials to treat waste and there are also much larger applications in other sectors that could benefit from the novel technology. Crab shells are typically expensive to dispose of and the project has enabled them to be converted from a waste product into valuable raw materials. The team are now exploring additional UK and European opportunities to take the technology forward. The project was co-funded by Innovate UK (Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency). More information is available from the project website: www.stowurc.co.uk.
Dr Emma Goosey collecting the award from Lord Hoyle of Warrington with Mr Darren Welch, from QMS International.