Nitroshrimp: From shrimp waste to biobased fertilizers

A team of UM students from the Biobased Materials Masters, Business Engineering, Bachelors and Maastricht Science Program Bachelors was awarded 2nd place in the Netherlands’s national phase of Biobased Innovation Student Challenge Europe (BISC-E) Competition 2022.

BISC-E encourages students to develop innovative biobased products and processes. Team Nitroshrimp presented the laboratory proof of concept of converting shrimp waste into biobased fertilizers, together with a life cycle assessment and a business plan. The competition mainly assessed technical and economic feasibility of the idea.

Chitin, the second most abundant biopolymer on Earth

Nitroshrimp: From shrimp waste to biobased fertilizers

Chitin is a polymer mostly found in crustaceans, but also in exoskeletons of other animals. It is a large waste stream, in the Netherlands for example more than 3000 Tons annually generated from shrimp waste alone in which the majority is not used.

From left to right: Charbel Sayah, Roy Erzuzurmluoglu, Anand Huizinga, Niek Knoben, Emilia Góralska, Elias Garcia and Felicia Cilenov. (and Valerie Lenigk: not present in the picture)

Team Nitroshrimp

Nitroshrimp, including three students from the Biobased Materials Masters, found a way to convert this polymer into an N-fertilizer which can also be used for the preparation of value-added chemicals. To this day, N-fertilizers are prepared through the Haber-Bosch process, responsible for 627 million metric tons of CO2 yearly emission. By replacing this process alleviates the environmental burden and facilitates the transition towards a sustainable biobased economy.