Waste from the citrus industry can provide biogas and valuable products for a range of industries. This has been shown by Lukitawesa, who recently defended his doctoral thesis at the Department of Resource Recovery and Building Technology at the University of Borås. Climate change has increased the need for resource recycling and a circular economy. What to do with waste is one such challenge; more environmentally friendly alternatives are needed when it comes to recycling and producing materials and energy from things humans discard. This is the starting point of Lukitawesa’s doctoral thesis Methane and Volatile Fatty Acid Production from Toxic Substrates,which focuses on waste from citrus fruits.
Lukitawesa’s research aims to develop methods for how citrus waste can be made into methane/biogas and building block chemical for biocomposite of plastic. This is a major challenge, as the waste contains toxic citrus peel oil and thus becomes difficult to use in anaerobic (non-oxygen demanding) digestion. However, the study shows that it is, in fact, possible. Lukitawesa says he wants to do more research on how citrus waste can produce volatile fatty acids. The doctoral thesis has raised new questions and has laid the foundation for new important studies.
“As researchers, we can, through new findings, contribute to solving the problem of climate change. The main purpose of the research is to create better living conditions for humanity. We have to take care of our planet. Otherwise, we have no future,” he says.