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Cow Dung Is A Possible Sustainable Material Of The Future, Study Finds

Cow Dung Is A Possible Sustainable Material Of The Future, Study Finds

Livestock dung could be used to create the next generation of cellulosic materials, according to a new report.

Livestock dung is typically used as a fertilizer or as a source of biogas for green energy applications, but the study, led by scientists at Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) in collaboration with the universities of Bristol and Edinburgh, reviewed recent research into the development of high-value manure-derived materials from ruminant animals such as cattle.

They found that dung has been largely overlooked despite the variety of different applications for recycled ruminant waste biomass (RWB).

The most common applications use manure in combination with other components to create  such as plastic, recycled card and paper or concrete. However, it could also be used for the extraction of —a prospective bio-based and biodegradable material of the future.

Currently, there is a trade-off between the performance of the material and the amount of processing required to achieve this—limiting the capacity of RWB to replace conventional materials on a commercial level.

Professor Fabrizio Scarpa, from Bristol's Department of Aerospace Engineering, explained, "In this study we have looked at assessing current manufacturing processes and performance of sustainable composites with lignin-based reinforcements extracted essentially from ruminant waste."

"Those composites can also be made by using various types of recycled plastics, together with different classes of reclaimed natural fibers. This is very promising for future sustainable materials applications in the extraction of nanocellulose from manure."

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