Researchers hope to turn shrimp shells into useful products

University of Alabama chemist Robin Rogers imagines a future where shrimp shells could become more than a smelly seafood byproduct.

“I believe in what I would call a chitin economy. I personally believe, if properly developed, the material you can develop from chitin and the markets you could sell them in would make the shrimp shell worth more than the meat,” said Rogers, an owner and founder of 525 Solutions, a startup company housed in UA’s Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs center on campus.

The company, which is exploring a host of applications for chitin extracted from the shells, received roughly $1.5 million from U.S. Department of Energy to fund its research of a chitin-based absorbent material for use in a process to extract uranium from the ocean. The company previously proved the concept of using the chitin-based material for the application.

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