The European poultry industry generated around 3.1 million tons of feather waste in 2014. Chicken feather waste is usually incinerated or landfilled.
Feathers are made up of 90% keratin, the same fibrous protein that gives hair, hoofs and horns their toughness.
The researchers believe that due to the high keratin content of feathers, they will produce a bioplastics that is stronger and more tear-resistant than starch or plant based bioplastics, however there are some technical challenges:
- feathers have to be sanitised before processing, to remove all pathogens;
- feathers are light and fly away which make processing with traditional machinery complicated.
The official description of the project is: Industrial Feather Waste Valorisation for Sustainable KeRatin based Materials. Total cost is €6.7 Mln and EU contribution is € 5.9 Mln
This is an EU-funded project that falls under the “Horizon 2020” programme: Sustainable, resource-efficient and low-carbon technologies in energy-intensive process industries.
Participants and beneficiary of the project