IIT Guwahati will set up a centre for developing sustainable materials from industrial waste. The "NRL-Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Sustainable Materials" will be set up in collaboration with Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL). The new centre will be dedicated to developing sustainable materials from various waste materials and by-products sourced from multiple sectors like petroleum industries bio-refineries and agro-industries.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between Prof. T. G. Sitharam, the Director of IIT Guwahati, and Mr. Nikunja Borthakur, Senior CGM (Corporate Affairs) for NRL, Guwahati on September 13, 2019.
The Director of IIT Guwahati, Prof. T.G. Sitharam, called this collaboration a first of its kind academic-industrial collaborative venture. He said that the CoE will work towards the production of biodegradable plastics from waste and intermediate materials from the existing oil and bio-feedstock based industries.
The IIT Guwahati Director said that the CoE will be instrumental in encouraging research projects on the development of sustainable materials like bioplastics and other value-added chemicals. These materials could be used by industries like NRL in combating environment pollution.
"The use of sustainable material will result in value addition to the wastes in a much greener sense, reducing the carbon footprint of these industries and increasing India's imprint on the development of sustainable materials on a global scale," said Prof. T.G. Sitharam.
"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 North-East states of India, and will inspire others to follow suit on the ways to utilize waste effectively and develop a sustainable environment," he added.
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 and other value-added chemicals for commercial applications.
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 project will manifest a new sustainable direction to the by-product management system of both petro-refineries and bio-refineries, and supply value addition to the wastes in a much greener sense, reducing the carbon footprint of those industries.
The Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Guwahati has received an initial research grant of Rs. 4 crores 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.
Talking about the Centre of Excellence, Prof. Vimal Katiyar, Coordinator, CoE, IIT Guwahati, 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 North-East 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."
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