475804 A Green Chemistry Approach for Producing Non-Synthetic Pesticide in Under-Developed Regions

Monday, November 14, 2016: 8:00 AM
Golden Gate 2 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Chandni Joshi1, Sarah Willett1, Shelby Doucet1, Shelby Browning1, Louis S. Moffatt1, John Higgins1 and Jeffrey Seay2, (1)Chemical Engineering, University of Kentucky College of Engineering, Paducah, KY, (2)Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Kentucky, Paducah, KY

The purpose of this contribution is to present the results of a US EPA funded People, Prosperity and the Planet Design Competition Project to develop an appropriate green chemistry based, low-cost method for producing a non-synthetic pesticide, wood vinegar, from already existing biochar production techniques present in rural regions of in Cameroon, Uganda and India. The overall cost to construct the wood vinegar processing unit must be low (typically less than 100 USD), construction materials must be readily available and construction methods must be simple and easily explainable to people with little or no formal education. The purpose behind this economic constraint is to give accessibility to even the poorest of the target population.

This project is based on applying the principles of sustainability, appropriate technology and green chemistry with chemical and mechanical engineering to develop a technology and processes that will provide rural people in developing countries with the ability to produce wood vinegar in addition to their production of biochar. To achieve this objective, four tasks were completed:

  • Design and optimize a production method for generating wood vinegar by pyrolysis of locally available biomass.
  • Determine the composition of the wood vinegar and its variance as different biomasses are pyrolyzed.
  • Conduct field studies in Cameroon, Uganda and India for the use of wood vinegar as a pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide to enhance its effectiveness.
  • Mechanical design and fabrication plans for making wood vinegar using locally sourced construction materials to implement the prototype together with our research partners.

Because the individuals in Cameroon, Uganda and India were already familiar with the process of making biochar, this research will be especially important since the process proposed by the research team adds a value added co-product to the production of a product that already enjoys widespread use. This is a key hallmark of sustainable product design.

This project is a co-recipient of the 2016 AIChE YCOSST P3 Award.


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