Shrimp Goes Big with Biodiesel

John Davis

Researchers at Mississippi State University are looking at ways to turn the millions of pounds of shrimp parts not used for food into biodiesel.

This story from Biodiesel Magazine says the project is being funded by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC), part of a federal/state partnership that matches National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration experts and resources with state academic institutions:

The goal of the research project is to find a higher value for the millions of tons of shrimp and other seafood waste that gets processed each year near in the Gulf Coast areas of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, according to Todd French, an assistant microbiologist at MSU who is a lead on the project.

“What we’re trying to do is find pieces to the puzzle and find something that has a higher value than their byproduct currently has where a lot of times they have to pay to truck off,” French said.

Seafood-based biodiesel production would be a boon for existing shrimp processors looking to eliminate some of their disposal costs, which have been estimated at about $145,000 per producer. As a building block for fuel, the waste also would bring additional income streams from the products it’s used to create.

Mississippi State has been a very hot place for biodiesel recently. As you might remember from my post on June 16th, the school is also working on turning wastewater sludge into biodiesel (in fact some of the same researchers are working on the shrimp-to-biodiesel project). In addition, back in May, we told you about how Mississippi State was the winner of Challenge X… a four-year engineering competition with 17 university teams from across North America developing General Motors vehicles using alternative energies. That winning vehicle ran on biodiesel.