Once merely a nutritious vegetable it looks as if the carrot is set to for a whole new lease of life. Thanks to a discovery by two Scottish scientists it can now be used to produce an advanced material that can be used to make products from fishing rods to warships.
Named Curran, the material is made of carrot nanofibres. The process to extract these fibres was developed by Dr David Hepworth and Dr Eric Whale at their company CelluComp in Burntisland, Fife. The first Curran product - a rod for fly fishing - goes on sale next month and the pair now plan to move on to make other goods including snowboards and vehicle parts
The material is more environmentally friendly than current methods using glass and carbon fibres. "It is incredibly versatile and we believe that we are launching at a time when companies are looking for that combination of quality and performance, but achieved in a way that is environmentally friendly," said Dr Hepworth.
At the moment, the company can make materials which are around 80 per cent carrot, with carbon fibre making up the remainder but it is hoped that as the technique is developed, they will eventually be able to make products which are made from 100 per cent biological matter - carrots and other plants. Dr Hepworth said they were already looking at using other vegetables such as turnips, swede and parsnips.
The material could be kinder to the environment given that carrots are a renewable resource (unlike the oil used to make carbon fibres) and even if the material was burnt, the carbon it created was cancelled out by the carbon absorbed by the carrots when they were growing. "The potential is enormous and if we can replace just a small percentage of carbon fibres in products the effects on the environment could be significant and wide-ranging.” Said Dr Hepworth.
Good luck to them I say...