IIT-M to develop eco-friendly tech to make raw materials from paddy waste

Insight Online News

Chennai, Mar 29 : Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology,

Madras (IIT-M) plans to develop an eco-friendly technology to upcycle

paddy waste to manufacture raw materials for industrial applications.

The technology will provide an additional source of income to farmers

as paddy waste can be used to produce energy devices that can be used

by the industry.

This approach can make a key contribution to reducing stubble burning

and burning of other farm waste in North India.

The researchers are fostering a new ‘Farm-Energy Synergy’ through their

work with organic waste, in-particular kitchen waste, to develop usable

activated carbon, a key component in making supercapacitors.

A release from IIT-M today said supercapacitors, made from activated

carbon produced from paddy waste, have many benefits to consumers

across electronics, energy and agricultural sectors and can help develop

self-reliance in the supercapacitors field.

Self-reliance concerning supercapacitors and supercapacitor-based

energy storage technology will enhance IP Generation and employment

within the country.

At present, the sheer quantum of paddy waste generated wass 760 lakh

metric tons per year in India and the farmers consider burning straw as

the most low-cost and efficient alternative to tailing the straw into the


This results in substantial pollution and a severe ecological problem.

Furthermore, burning reduces the potential utilization of biomass.

The estimated loss for India alone is approximately Rs. 92, 600 crore

associated with this approach to farm waste management.

IIT Madras Researchers have already demonstrated the conversion of

bio-waste into biomass (such as vegetable waste) to activated carbon

and have used it to make supercapacitor electrode materials.

The same technology can be adapted to render paddy waste valid for

activated carbon production. The future plan is to use the approach

being followed to make activated carbon and explore scales of


Elaborating how the Industry can help in such projects with major

societal benefits, Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and

Corporate Relations), IIT-M, said agriculture still continues to be

at the heart of India’s economy.

“This breakthrough technology that converts biomass such as paddy

waste into activated carbon, will have a significant bearing on our

health, environment and the economy”, he said.

This project is being headed by Dr. Tiju Thomas, Associate Professor,

Department of Metallurgical and Materials, and the Institute is looking

for CSR partners to help scale up the project and benefit the country

at large.

Dr. Tiju Thomas said “the solution that we are identifying is a well

defined process. It will allow for conversion of paddy waste of the

country to commercial standard carbon material and the use of the

activated carbon to fabricate supercapacitors that comply with the

market standard.”

He said the material will be implemented in the form of a suitable

supercapacitor-based hybrid energy storage device.


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