A team of Malaysian researchers have developed ways to convert pineapple waste into a bio-composite material for developing unmanned aircraft or drone frames.

Reuters reported that the project is being led by Malaysia’s Putra University professor Mohamed Thariq Hameed Sultan.

Launched in 2017, the project explores ways to use pineapple waste generated after the once-in-a-year harvest period by farmers in Hulu Langat, an area located 65km from Kuala Lumpur.

Mohamed Thariq Hameed Sultan told the news agency: “We are transforming the leaf of the pineapple into a fibre that can be used for aerospace application, basically inventing a drone.”

The fibre found in waste pineapple leaves is used to create a bio-composite material.

Drones made from the sustainable material are said to have a higher strength-to-weight ratio compared with those built using synthetic fibres, the news agency reported citing Mohamed Thariq.

The prototype drones reportedly remained airborne for at least 20 minutes at a height of 1,000m during the demonstration, according to Thariq.

The drones are also cheaper, lighter and easily disposable.

Moreover, damaged frames can be buried in the ground and would take two weeks to degrade.

Researchers expect the innovation would help in building ‘a larger drone’ capable of carrying greater payloads, such as ‘imagery sensors’ that serve agricultural purposes and aerial inspections.