Team:SDSZ China/im

iGem SDSZ_China 2018

Machine design


1) Efficiency

Through the design of reactors and time-control systems, the efficiency of production is greatly enhanced. Through numerous experiments in the lab, we found out that there is no need to grind the lobster shells during the pretreatment process, for the reaction can take place spontaneously without the shells being grinded, and thus reducing the time needed to treat the materials aforehand.
The design of the linked reaction tanks for the removal of protein and minerals reduces the time that each compartment stays unoccupied, and thus improves the efficiency in a great deal. The traditional time for one fixed amount of materials to transform completely is seventy-two hours per unit while using our new plan, we simply need fifty-four hours per unit and increase the efficiency by 33%.

2) Energy Consumption

Since none of our designed reaction tanks are unoccupied individually for long period of time and the linked reaction tanks work as integrated systems, the consumption of energy is conspicuously decreased during the complete process.
The only step of our reaction through the processing of the machine that requires heating takes place when treating the materials with alkali. Energy usage is reduced in that only one of the three tanks needs to be heated discontinuously during the complete process of the reaction, and it only takes 2% of the total amount of time.

3) Safety

Our initial purpose of designing the machine was to solve the existing problems of industrial production, which include high level of safety risks. The redesigned flow of production greatly reduces the possibilities of occurring safety accidents in that we adopted low concentrated alkali and acid while dealing with the reactions.
Since there are no specific criteria in market on the use of acid in chitosan production, we used the exoskeleton of lobsters to experiment and found out that acid with the concentration of 5mol/L is the most effective dose in industry conversion. Though the data does not seem a grand difference, usually the concentration of hydrochloric acid in industrial production is 30%, which can cause corrosion and seriously harm human bodies while in contact.

4) Labor demand

The automatic machine requires fewer laborers during the production and thus reduces the cost for factory owners. We have noted that not grinding the shells in the first unit of the machine does not affect the efficiency of the production. As a result, we completely deleted this step which used to demand large involvement of laborers and artificial operation. What is more, all of our devices are equipped with timers, sensors or transporting devices that shape the reaction tanks together as a system, through which automatic processing is consequently achieved.

5) Waste Treatment

One of the most significant advantages of using biologic method to treat chitin is that it causes no water pollution. The only by product of enzyme catalysis is acetic acid which is dissolvable and causes trivial pollution to natural environment if released without treated.
What is more, all of the liquid waste of the reactions is collected and treated for release to the environment, being more environmentally friendly than the release of chemical concentrated solution caused by the chemical production of chitosan.