IIT Roorkee Updates: IIT's Researchers Create Technology to Produce Biodegradable Polybags

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee has cracked the concern of plastic waste generated from polybags.

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Prof P P Kundu, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Roorkee, who is a specialist in Polymer Technology has created a thermoplastic starch that will be blended with LDPE, thereby producing LDPE biodegradable.

The government of India has restricted the usage of specific types of polybags since July 2022, as these are non-biodegradable and considered to be a big threat to the atmosphere, and with Prof Kundu’s technology India can shortly have biodegradable polybags of its own.

Prof Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi, Director of IIT Roorkee said “The developed technology is expected to have immense value because of the large quantities of starch produced in India and the environment-friendly nature of the solution.”

India being agrarian in nature delivers a lot of starch such as potato, rice, wheat, and maize, or corn starch and other starches are obtainable in plenty which can assist in the production of these bags.

Natural starch being crystalline cannot be combined with LDPE as its melting matter is more than 250oC. So, it can be used as filler in LDPE. On the other hand, thermoplastic starch is a plasticized form of natural starch received from natural bases such as cassava, maize, potato, etc along with plasticizer. Thermoplastic starch is mostly amorphous, whereas ordinary starch is crystalline, as described in the IIT.

The commonly used plasticizers are polyfunctional alcohols such as glycerol, and sorbitol along with some low molecular weight compounds capable of forming intermolecular hydrogen bonding such as water, formamide, etc. The starch and plasticizer in the existence of heat and constant agitation undergo gelatinization. In that method, the crystallinity of starch is sufficiently reduced, showing an amorphous structure. Due to its amorphous character, it can be blended with LDPE, the IT demonstrated.

IIT Roorkee has communicated this technology to Noida-based Agrsar Innovatives LLP for manufacturing biodegradable polybags in large quantities. M/s Agrasar will commercially operate the present technology for manufacturing biodegradable polybags in large quantities.

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