A research team in Malaysia has developed a method to convert the fibers found in discarded pineapple leaves into a durable material that can be used to make drone frames.
A research team from the University of Ota, Malaysia is working on a project led by Professor Mohamed Sultan. Researchers have been studying the development of sustainable methods to utilize pineapple waste produced by farmers in the province of Gourd Langa near the capital Kuala Lumpur.
The process involves converting pineapple leaves into fibers, which can then be used as cheap disposable drone parts, while also considering their use in a wider range of aerospace applications.
The person in charge of the research team stated that the drone made of biocomposite materials has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than synthetic fibers, and is cheaper, lighter and easier to use, so it can be manufactured with bio-available components making it degradability and environmental friendly.
According to the team, the prototype drone has been tested and can fly to an altitude of about 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) and stay in the air for about 20 minutes.
The research team hopes to expand the scale of drones and the amount of load they can withstand. This will extend the application of such drones to various situations including agriculture and aviation inspections.
William Alvisse of the Malaysian Driverless Activist Association, a non-governmental organization participating in the project, stated that the goal is to provide farmers with innovative solutions to increase yields and provide a more enjoyable farming experience.
It is hoped that the project that was launched in 2017 will increase income for pineapple growers in the country, who previously discarded the stems and leaves of annual fruits after harvest.