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Industrial symbiosis and green chemistry: one’s waste is another’s resource!

A.J. Hunt, J.R. Dodson, H.L. Parker, V.L. Budarin, A.S. Matharu, J.H. Clark
Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, UK

Keywords: Industrial symbiosis, green chemistry, waste, materials, LCD, construction, water treatment


Industrial symbiosis, the sharing of industrial by-products to add value, reduce costs and improve the environment, will become increasingly important for the sustainable future of our planet. By employing this philosophy alongside green chemical technologies it is possible to develop new materials that will open doors to a variety of applications. Herein, three case studies demonstrate how “wastes” from food, agriculture and consumer electronics may be transformed into valuable materials for water treatment, construction and medical applications, respectively. Waste polysaccharides (starch and alginic acid) can be expanded and pyrolysed to produce mesoporous carbonaceous materials (Starbon®). Starbons® have demonstrated great promise as adsorbents for the removal of cationic and anionic dyes from aqueous waste streams. The valorization of biomass fly ash and slag from combustion is vital to ensure recovery and reuse of the inorganic species. Research is demonstrating the use of silicates from ash as an effective replacement for traditional formaldehyde binders in construction boards. By adopting a holistic approach to liquid crystal display utilization we have demonstrated that liquid carbon dioxide can efficiently extract liquid crystals, indium can be recovered and low value polymers can be transformed into porous materials that may find use as tissue scaffolds.
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