Pineapple waste takes flight as drone component


In Malaysia, researchers have designed a drone using fibers extracted from pineapple leaves. The project, led by Professor Mohamed Thariq Hameed Sultan at University Putra Malaysia, began in 2017 when a community project asked the school to find an outlet for the region’s abundant waste pineapple leaves. 

The drone components made out of pineapple leaves have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than existing materials  biodegrade in two weeks when buried. “We are transforming the leaf of the pineapple into a fiber that can be used for aerospace application, basically inventing a drone,” Sultan tells Reuters. 

The drones have been tested at over 1,000 meters with a flight time of 20 minutes. The aim is to develop a larger drone that could be used to spread agricultural chemicals and inspect fields.

Waste pineapple leaves are abundant in Malaysia and usually burned after harvest. “With the health issue, the economy problem due to COVID-19, the society is desperate and there is no alternative to increase income,” one pineapple farmer said.