Collaboration to find innovative uses of shellfish waste

A Swansea University research team is working with a New Quay based shellfish processing plant to find innovative uses for shell waste.

SEACAMS 2 shellsSEACAMS2 and Quay Fresh and Frozen Foods of New Quay, West Wales are working in partnership to find new, efficient and commercially viable uses for shell material waste from the shellfish processing plant. 

The SEACAMS2 project, based in the University’s College of Science  develops opportunities in low carbon, energy and environment and is an investment in the potential offered by the marine economy and marine renewable energy.  SEACAMS2 is a three-year project managed through Swansea University and Bangor University and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund to support industry-academia collaborations in Wales.

In the past Quay Fresh and Frozen Foods disposed of the shell material to the coastal waters, to the south of the small fishing village of New Quay in in accordance with the appropriate regulatory standards, but at present the majority of the shell material from the plant is used for beneficial purposes for golf courses and farm tracks.  However this new collaborative project aims to find even more alternative uses and “upcycle” the shells into a commercially viable product.

Mandy Andrews, Director of Quay Fresh and Frozen Foods said: “We want to ensure that we have a sustainable and stable fishing industry.  We hope that by exploring options to maximise the efficient use of all parts of the shellfish, we can contribute to a better future for our family of employers here and for the fishermen that our business supports”.

Trials are already underway at SEACAMS2 laboratories based at Singleton Campus at Swansea University with researchers are looking into several possibilities for sustainable use of shell material. 

Project leader Professor Kam Tang said: “We are currently looking at a number of sustainable options which include water filtration media, soil conditioners and the potential for creating an environmentally friendly alternative to microbeads, commonly used as an abrasive in a range of products including some health and beauty items.”