Schoolchildren learn the science of food waste recycling as part of British Science Week

Schoolchildren in Gainsborough got an insight into the science behind food waste recycling during a special visit as part of British Science Week.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Natasha Lawlor, Laboratory Analyst at BioteCH4, attended Benjamin Adlard Primary School assembly to talk about her role as a scientist and how food waste can be turned into electricity and gas.

Natasha is based at the BioteCH4‘s Hemswell site. She talked through the process of Anaerobic Digestion, the experiments she performs daily to ensure the smooth running of the plant and shared some interesting food waste facts.

The pupils were also shown a video of one of Natasha’s titrations, an experiment to check the Free Fatty Acid Percentage (FFA%) in the oil, which determines its quality.

Natasha Lawlor at Benjamin Adlard Primary SchoolNatasha Lawlor at Benjamin Adlard Primary School
Natasha Lawlor at Benjamin Adlard Primary School

A titration is the slow addition of one solution of a known concentration (called a titrant) to a known volume of another solution of an unknown concentration until the reaction reaches neutralization. This is often indicated by a colour change, pink, in this case!

British Science Week is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering, and maths. This year's theme is smashing stereotypes, aiming to celebrate the diverse people and careers in the science world. The visit aimed to debunk stereotypes within science and show the children anyone can be a scientist.

Natasha said: “I was delighted to meet the children of Benjamin Adlard Primary School and talk about our process and my role. The children were intrigued by the concept of food waste and recycling it into electricity and gas, and amazed by the large scale in which we do this

“Although Anaerobic Digestion isn’t the first thing you think of when it comes to science, it is very much relevant, and becoming more so every day. The children asked lots of great questions and I hope I was able to open a new world of science for them and break that typical image of what it looks like to work within the field of science.”

Neil Groves, Roots Outdoor Education Teacher at Benjamin Adlard Primary School, said “Everyone enjoyed Natasha’s presentation and found it really informative. It inspired further discussions between the children at lunchtime about where their food waste goes, which was great to see.”

Related topics: