IIT Guwahati establishes facilities to develop Sustainable Materials and Green Technologies

IIT Guwahati

The NRL-Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Materials Translational Facility on Bioplastics aims to address the environmental concerns associated with conventional plastics and develop alternative solutions

GUWAHATI, 12th June 2023:Indian Institute of Technology Guwahatihas established the NRL -Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Sustainable Materials Translational Facility on Bioplasticsat its campus to work towards the development of environment-friendly sustainable plastics. Environmental concerns associated with existing plastics have resulted in an urgent need to develop alternatives that should have practically identical performance properties at comparable production cost.

Speaking about the recently inaugurated Translational Facilityat IIT Guwahati, Prof. Parameswar K. Iyer, Officiating Director, IIT Guwahati, said,“Such holistic technological advancement in the area of biodegradable plastics through industry support is a one-of-its-kind initiative in the country. We are hopeful that the industries will use the available knowledge base to speed up further commercial activities in the compostable plastics sector, as the current plastic problem needs to be addressed without further delay.”

The partnership between IIT Guwahati and NRL for establishing the CoE for Sustainable MaterialsTranslational Facility on Bioplasticsis a first of its kind academic-industrial collaboration. This venture will foster R&D work along with production of biodegradable plastics utilising the waste and intermediate materials.

Speaking about the R&D work being done by IIT Guwahati in this field, Prof. Vimal Katiyar,Coordinator, NRL-Center of Excellence for Sustainable Materials, and, Dean, Research and Development, IIT Guwahati, said,“We, at IIT Guwahati, are targeting to utilize bamboo as the main raw material for production of biodegradable plastics and related products, and once adopted, it will lead to significant industrialisation in the region.”

“We have worked on various technologies related to compostable plastics and these technologies are open for the industries,” added Prof. Katiyar.

The recently establishedTranslational Facility on Bioplastics at IIT Guwahati houses the first biodegradable plastic production pilot plantalong with several processing facilities for various biodegradable plastic products such as compostable cutlery, carry bags, plastic containers, and glasses, among others, using customised film packaging line, injection molding, cast sheet line and thermoforming products line. These facilities will help in sensitizing the industries throughout the country to gain initial know-how for developing commercial production facilities to cater to the need of a sustainable society.

Speaking about the scope of Academic – Industry collaboration Dr. Amit Kumar, Head, Centre for Sustainable Polymers, IIT Guwahati, said, “IIT Guwahati aims to develop a highly technical workforce in the field of biodegradable plastics and has proposed multiple industry-academic collaboration ideas for the same. The newly established Translational Facility on Bioplastics will give potential industry partners an opportunity to work on targeted projects with the researchers at IIT Guwahati.”

IIT Guwahati is actively working towards dealing with new directions and concerns emerging from various day-to-day environmental problems. The current global emphasis on environmental sustainability has made it necessary to develop eco-friendly products using inexpensive renewable sources. The NRL-Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Materials Translational Facility on Bioplastics recently inaugurated by the Hon’ble Governor of Assam, Shri Gulab Chand Katariawill act as a catalyst to boost this global mission.

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