Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IITG), in collaboration with the Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) has initiated a joint venture to start biodegradable and environment-friendly plastic production for commercial use.
IITG experts said that the biodegradable plastics will give an alternative to the polluting plastic carry bags and other single-use flexible plastic products that will be taken off the markets soon.
The “NRL-Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Sustainable Materials” envisions the broad objective of developing sustainable materials from various waste and byproducts sourced from multiple sectors like petroleum industries bio-refineries and agro industries.
“This alliance between IIT Guwahati and NRL is a first of its kind academic-industrial collaborative venture.
This CoE will work towards the production of biodegradable plastics for our civil society utilizing the waste and intermediate materials from the existing oil and bio-feedstock based industries.
This CoE will serve as an umbrella for many such upcoming collaborative research projects on the development of sustainable materials like bioplastics and other value added chemicals under one platform to serve the industries like NRL in combating environmental pollution,” IITG director, professor TG Sitharam said.
He said that the joint venture will result in value addition to the wastes in a much greener sense, reducing the carbon footprint of these industries and increasing imprint on the development of sustainable materials on a global scale.
“The conception of this Centre of Excellence at IIT Guwahati will provide a huge impetus to green technology development and waste management techniques in the northeast states of India, and will inspire others to follow suit on the ways to utilize waste effectively and develop a sustainable environment,” Sitharam added.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) & Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) have been signed recently to materialize the plans by professor Sitharam and Nikunja Borthakur, senior chief general manager (corporate affairs) of NRL, Guwahati in presence of dean, research and development, professor Gopal Das, head of chemical engineering, professor Anugrah Singh and project coordinator professor Vimal Katiyar.
The scope of this CoE is to provide the techno-commercial solutions for the cost-effective utilization of waste products of oil refinery including its derivatives such as wax, oil sludge, etc. and bamboo based bio-refinery waste materials generated by various NRL process streams and to develop biodegradable plastics as well as other value added chemicals for commercial applications.
Coordinator of the CoE at IITG, professor Vimal Katiyar said, “The conception of this Centre of Excellence at IIT Guwahati will provide a huge boost to green technology development and waste management techniques in the northeast states of India through industrial intervention.
It will set an example for others to follow the footsteps of IIT Guwahati towards utilizing waste effectively and to promote the development of sustainable materials including biodegradable plastics at commercial scale.”
The chemical engineering department of IITG has received an initial research grant of Rs 4 crore through “NRL-Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Materials” by NRL to troubleshoot and provide useful end products by utilizing by-products generated from NRL and allied industries.
The project will not only provide an environmental-friendly solution to tackle the large amounts of oil and bio-refinery waste generated from the industries, but will also result in the fabrication of sustainable polymers by utilizing above waste, capable of replacing the conventional, non-biodegradable petroleum based plastics for the commodity applications.
The IITG experts said that the project will manifest a new sustainable direction to the by-product management system of both petro-refineries and bio-refineries.
Source : Times of India
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