Science, technology and innovations in India

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IIT Ropar’s startup company introduces World’s first ‘Plant based’ smart air-purifier “Ubreathe Life”

Technology uses living, breathing plants for the filtration of contaminants



Posted On: 01 SEP 2021 12:12PM by PIB Chandigarh



Budding scientists of Indian Institutes of Technology, Ropar and Kanpur and Faculty of Management Studies of Delhi University have developed a living-plant based air purifier “Ubreathe Life” that amplifies the air purification process in the indoor spaces. These indoor spaces can either be hospitals, schools, offices and your Homes.


IIT Ropar’s startup company, Urban Air Laboratory, that has developed the product claims it to be world’s first, state-of-the art ‘Smart Bio-Filter’ that can make breathing fresh. It has been incubated at IIT Ropar, which is a designated iHub - AWaDH (Agriculture and Water Technology Development Hub) by the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India.


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Image: Ubreathe Life - a living-plant based air purifier


The technology works through the air-purifying natural leafy plant. The room-air interacts with leaves and goes to the soil-root zone where maximum pollutants are purified. The novel technology used in this product is ‘Urban Munnar Effect’ along with patent pending “Breathing Roots” to exponentially amplify the phytoremediation process of the plants. Phytoremediation is a process by which plants effectively remove pollutants from the air.


‘Ubreathe Life’ effectively improves indoor air quality by removing particulate, gaseous and biological contaminants while increasing the oxygen levels in the indoor space through specific plants, UV disinfection and a stack of Pre-filter, Charcoal filter and HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter fitted in a specially designed wooden box. There is a centrifugal fan which creates a suction pressure inside the purifier, and releases purified air, formed at the roots, through the outlet in 360degree direction. The specific plants tested for air-purification include Peace Lily, Snake Plant, Spider plant etc. and all have given good results in purifying indoor-air.


According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report the indoor air spaces are five times more polluted than outdoor air space. That is a cause of concern especially in the present Covid pandemic times. A research, which has recently been published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), calls upon the governments to alter building designs by fixing air changes per hour (a measure of room ventilation with outdoor air). The ‘Ubreathe Life’ can be a solution to this concern.


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Image: Prof. Rajeev Ahuja, Director, IIT Ropar (third from left) with other staff members


“This tested product ‘Ubreathe Life’ can be a game changer for maintaining clean air indoors. Reason being, the new research also suggests that Covid-19 vaccination by itself may not guarantee safety at workplaces, schools and even closed fully air-conditioned homes unless air filtration, air purification and indoor ventilation becomes part of the building design. The results of testing, conducted by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories and the Laboratory of IIT Ropar maintains that the AQI (Air Quality Index) for a room size of 150sq.ft. drops from 311 to 39 in 15 minutes after using ‘Ubreathe Life’, claims Director, IIT, Ropar, Prof. Rajeev Ahuja. He claimed that this is first ever living plant based air-purifier in the world that can be a game changer.


Mr. Sanjay Maurya, CEO, Ubreathe claims that the product has certain biophilic benefits, such as supporting cognitive function, physical health, and psychological well-being. Thus, it’s like having a bit of Amazon forest in your room. The consumer need not water the plant regularly as there is a built-in water reservoir with a capacity of 150ml which acts as a buffer for plant requirements. He says that the device supplies water to the roots whenever it gets too dry.


Recommending this researched product, Dr. Vinay and Dr. Deepesh Agarwal from AIIMS, New Delhi said that the ‘Ubreathe Life’ infuses oxygen in the room making it conducive to patients with breathing issues.


Prof. Ahuja assured that IIT is capable of producing the product in large quantity to market it.


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Scientists develop low-cost biodegradable wound dressing film--

Cotton wool, lint, and gauzes are commonly used wound dressing materials. They are often deployed to manage the wound exudates and accelerate the healing process. However, a major disadvantage of such materials is the concerning painful removal exercises that can even damage a healed tissue. Further, their opaqueness becomes a critical issue for sensitive wound applications that demand periodic visualization based analysis and treatment procedures.


Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have invented a biodegradable low-cost composite transparent wound dressing film. This material, based on the integration of a synthetic polymer, is non-toxic and will create a moist environment that would enable the body to heal on its own through the endogenous enzymes, according to recent research. Some of the findings have been published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules journal.


This study was conducted by Ms. Aritra Das (First Author), Ph.D. Scholar, Ms. Srirupa Bhattacharya, Doctoral Fellow, IIT Guwahati, Prof. Chandan Das, and Prof. Ramagopal V. S. Uppaluri, Faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati.


Several promising features and advantages exist for the polymer-based hydrogel films as novel wound dressing materials. In addition to their bio-degradability that counters environmental hazards, the mentioned films are easy for people to afford them. Wound dressing films are biocompatible and prevent any kind of toxicity that counters and hampers the growth of cells, tissues and natural healing processes. This is a transparent material that helps wound observation without changing the dressing materials. Further, ease of removal can be addressed, thanks to the controlled moist environment being facilitated by the material. Thus, the transparent film can be easily removed, said IIT Guwahati statement.


“This invention of IIT Guwahati has the potential to make a huge impact on the field. It emphasizes upon the integration of a synthetic polymer namely polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) with a natural polymer starch (St) to eventually achieve a low-cost, biodegradable, non-toxic and transparent composite hydrogel,” said Ms. Aritra Das.


IIT Guwahati has created the knowledge framework and associated protocols for successful identification and optimization of polymer hydrogel films for the probable wound dressing applications.




The low-cost Composite Wound Dressing Film



Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have invented a biodegradable low-cost composite transparent wound dressing film. This material, based on the integration of a synthetic polymer, is non-toxic and will create a moist environment that would enable the body to heal on its own through the endogenous enzymes, according to recent research. Some of the findings have been published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules journal.
Such customized and effectively designed novel materials provide the necessary hope to effectively address issues such as biodegradability of synthetic polymer-based materials, cost of raw materials and processes, utilization of expensive natural polymers to achieve functional materials, and biocompatibility of developed products, among others. All these are expected to further enrich the on-field applications of polymers in real-world applications.


Explaining how this invention will have an impact in the real world, Prof. Chandan Das, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, said, “The product has potential to prevent bacterial invention even after it gets swelled under hydrolytic environment and loses its occlusivity. The steady weight loss characteristics presented by the polymer network provide essential release of the components, especially citric acid which secures the protective barrier. Apart from providing adequate environment towards the growth of the wounded cells, the leached components from the composite as well assist towards the accelerated growth of the healthy cells and tissues.”


The laboratory achieved film constitution can be further targeted towards in-vivo characterizations and needful scale-up investigations. The enhancement of PVA-St composite hydrogel film characteristics with malic acid replacing citric acid affirmed even more promising results in terms of both property enhancement as a viable wound dressing film, and reduction in the retail cost of the film fabrication.


Further, elaborating on the current status of the research and how it can be taken to the field, Prof. Ramagopal V. S. Uppaluri, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Guwahati, said, “The study has been carried out in an experimental and tabletop research environment that needs further studies towards scale-up as well as in-vivo analysis (real world applications). Among these, the scale-up related studies can be addressed after targeting the in-vivo analysis using specimens such as wounded rats.”


The laboratory scale-based retail cost of the optimized CA-based PVA-St composite hydrogel film has been about ₹ 0.188/cm2, which is about 66 percent inexpensive in comparison with similar commercial materials that cost ₹ 0.565 /cm2


Considering processing costs and probable insights from scale-up studies, the anticipated price of the developed materials is expected to be about 50% or lesser of the commercial price of the mentioned materials. Compared to the CA-based PVA-St composite hydrogel film, the recently invented MA-based similar film has been about 4.56 percent inexpensive.
 

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Study paves way for better energy storage devic

A group of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Guwahati and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai has developed a new material that promises to improve the efficiency of electrodes used in supercapacitor devices.


The researchers have shown that supercapacitors based on electrodes made with the new material can be repeatedly charged and discharged over 10,000 times, with only minimal performance degradation, as compared to conventional batteries that typically wear out within 300-500 charging-discharging cycles. They could also be charged in seconds to their full capacity and store as much energy as 30 Wh (Watt hour) per kilogram of the materials. It further delivered the energy at a very fast rate. The delivery of energy is presented in terms of power density. The supercapacitors achieved the highest power density of 1.13 kW per kg of electrode material which is almost twice the power offered by current Li-ion batteries.


Speaking to India Science Wire, the scientists said the supercapacitors can be engineered to be compact enough to fit the extremely tight spaces of modern portable electronic equipment.


A group of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Guwahati and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai has developed a new material that promises to improve the efficiency of electrodes used in supercapacitor devices.
In Supercapacitors two electrodes (anode and cathode) are immersed in an electrolyte solution, and energy is stored by charge accumulation on the electrode surfaces. Atomic-thin nanosheets are considered the best choice for supercapacitor electrodes as they can offer a large area to store charge. However, integrating the microscopic ultra-small nanosheets into a usable macroscopic scale electrode is highly challenging.


The researchers have developed their hydrogels electrodes by a simple room-temperature process in which graphene and MXene nanosheets spontaneously assemble themselves over a metal plate within a water medium. Graphene sheets, which are made of single-atom carbon, store the charge on their surface via physical adsorption, known as electrical double layer mechanism (EDLC), while MXene sheets, made of titanium carbide, store the charge via both EDLC and a chemical reaction on its surface, known as pseudo-capacitance.


The study was led by Dr Uday Narayan Maiti, and Prof. Subhradip Ghosh of IIT Guwahati, and Dr N. Padma of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, under a project of the Department of Atomic Energy’s Board of Research in Nuclear Science (BRNS). The scientists have published a report on their work in scientific journals “Electrochimica Acta” and “Carbon”.
 

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A new technique to help avoid sudden power shutdowns--India Science Wire
By India Science Wire

4 minutes



Prof. R. Sarathi and Prof. N.J. Vasa with the Research Team and the Experiment Set-up at an IIT Madras laboratory

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras researchers have developed a new technique that promises to help avoid sudden power shutdowns by making it easier to monitor levels of pollution deposits in power transmission networks.

The reliability of electric power systems largely depends on the performance of the electrical insulation. But, the outdoor insulation on the transmission lines and the substation equipment are subjected to environmental pollution, in addition to the electrical, thermal, and mechanical stresses.

The pollution-related electrical flashover can lead to blackouts and the collapse of the system. Cleaning the polluted insulator under the working condition is the only fool-proof way of resolving the problem.

However, due to the high operating voltages and huge spatial span of the electrical transmission system, it would be better if the level of pollution deposition and the type of pollutant are known before undertaking any exercise to clean them.

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Madras researchers have developed a new technique that promises to help avoid sudden power shutdowns by making it easier to monitor levels of pollution deposits in power transmission networks.
The team of researchers at IIT-Madras led by Prof. R. Sarathi of the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras, and Prof. N.J. Vasa of the Department of Engineering Design has developed a new method that can measure the contents and thickness of the deposits remotely.

With the new technique, one would have to just shine a laser beam on the insulators and identify the constituents of pollution deposition. Presently, the beam can be shone from a distance of even up to 40 metres. The researchers are working to finetune it further to extend this distance to up to 100 m. This would enable assessing the pollution layer on transmission line insulators either from the ground or from a drone.

The scientists noted that there will be no more be need to interrupt power transmission nor for anyone to climb the tower. “The technique is simple and reliable. It can provide accurate results within no time. The entire length of the transmission line could be monitored effectively for its condition on pollution deposit level in a short time”, they said.

The team is planning to approach National Thermal Power Corporation, Power Grid and other utilities to demonstrate this technology and its use in the real power system network. The researchers have published a report on their study in the journal `IOP-Measurement Science and Technology. The work was financially supported under the National Perspective Plan of the Ministry of Power, Government of India through Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), Bengaluru.
 

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Researchers Sequence Genome of Herb, Giloy

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER)-Bhopal have sequenced the genome of Giloy, a medicinal herb that is extensively used in allopathic pharmaceuticals and ayurvedic formulations to treat various health conditions.


Giloy is an important multipurpose medicinal plant in Ayurvedic science. It has been used in various health conditions due to its immune-modulatory, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties, among others.


It is extensively used in skin diseases, urinary tract infections, and the treatment of dental plaque. It is also found to reduce the clinical symptoms in HIV-positive patients and its antioxidant activity has anti-cancer and chemo-protective properties. Giloy extracts are found to be potential candidates in treating various cancers like brain tumours, breast cancer, and oral cancer, as well. The plant has come into the limelight recently due to its immunomodulatory and antiviral activity after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.


A key aspect of the study is that this is the first species ever sequenced from the Menispermaceae plant family, which comprises more than 400 species having therapeutic values. It will help in various comparative genomic studies and will act as a reference for the future species sequenced from its genus and family.


Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER)-Bhopal have sequenced the genome of Giloy, a medicinal herb that is extensively used in allopathic pharmaceuticals and ayurvedic formulations to treat various health conditions.
This research was undertaken by MetaBioSys Group in the Institute, which focuses on the Indian microbiome including gut, scalp, and skin microbiomes in healthy and diseased individuals. They also work on sequencing and functional analysis of novel eukaryotic and prokaryotic genomes by developing and employing new machine learning-based software for big data biological analysis.


The research team was led by Dr. Vineet K. Sharma, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, and comprised Ms. Shruti Mahajan and Mr. Abhisek Chakraborty, PhD Students, and Ms. Titas Sil, BS-MS Student. A report on the work has been published in the international preprint server for biology bioRxiv.


The scientists noted that previous studies have shown that a compound from Giloy targetted two proteases of the SARS-CoV-2 virus namely Mpro and Spike proteases, and another compound was predicted to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and also disrupts viral spike protein and host ACE-2 interaction.


The multiple medicinal properties of the herb are because of the presence of its secondary metabolites. Despite these medicinal properties, the unavailability of its genome sequence was a constraint in studying the genomic basis of the medicinal properties. Thus, the genome sequence of Giloy could be a breakthrough as the potential therapeutic agent for diseases like COVID in the future.
 

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Improved water management system developed can treat toxic textile effluents facilitating its reuse in households and industry


Posted On: 09 SEP 2021 3:03PM by PIB Delhi



Indian researchers have developed an improved wastewater treatment solution that can completely reuse industrial dye wastewater from textile industry, eliminating its toxicity and making it suitable for domestic and industrial usage. It can reduce water treatment costs and facilitate the reuse of the water in dry regions.


The current 3-stage treatment process for wastewater consisting of primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment is unable to treat toxic industrial wastewater. The stand-alone AOP treatment technique for colour and odour properties in industrial effluents (dye-based) may be insufficient to meet set government standards and is also limited due to the high cost of AOPs involving continuous supply of chemical reagents. This is because it cannot remove the synthetic industrial dyes and the effervescent colour and odour, which have a long-lasting carcinogenic and toxic effect on the ecological and especially aquatic life. In order to remove this toxicity, an upgraded solution with the Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) technology is the need of the day.


Working towards this, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur with Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur and MBM College Jodhpur have developed a modified AOP solution. This completely modified treatment process consists of the primary dosing step followed by the sand filtration step, another AOP and subsequent carbon filtration step. It eliminates the need for the conventional primary, secondary, and tertiary processes resulting in maximum colour removal and meets the inland water discharge standards.


Department of Science and Technology (DST) Government of India (GoI) – Water Technology Initiative (WTI), along with the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), supported the development of this technology at a pilot level in collaboration with Laxmi Textile Prints, Jaipur for the commissioning of this pilot-scale plant at Textile Industrial Park, Jaipur.


The much-improved Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) technology targeting zero discharge water management system is being utilized for the complete reuse of industrial dye wastewater for domestic and industrial usage at a rate of 10 Kilo litres /day. The treatment of toxic and highly carcinogenic industrial dyes of textile effluents is performed using this AOP technology for degrading and mineralizing recalcitrant organic matter from effluent wastewater.


It is a direct replacement of the existing treatment plant processes and consists of a low-cost solution of dye adsorption on acid-modified soil followed by a photochemical reaction step within a photocatalytic visible light filter and a unique carbon and PAN nano-mat fibre filtration process. Having been set up on a pilot basis, it remediates industrial wastewater.


The technology has resulted in the recuperation of 50% of the treatment cost incurred from conventional processes for water treatment (especially due to the high cost of sludge disposability) in the water-scarce regions of Rajasthan. Further, scaling up of this plant to 100 Kilo litres /day capacity to meet the current industrial requirement is underway with automated plant operations.





For details Dr. Shantanu Bhattacharya, IIT Kanpur, [email protected] can be contacted.


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Fig: Change of Color of effluents post multiple treatment steps
 

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Noise Control Sheet Absorber developed by mimicking bee hives


Posted On: 10 SEP 2021 2:34PM by PIB Delhi



An Indian researcher has fabricated paper honeycomb and stronger polymer honeycomb structure as sound-absorbing panels that dissipate acoustic energy to low-frequency ranges. The technology can be used in building acoustics and also as environmental noise control solution.


Many traditional materials have been found to be good at controlling higher frequencies. However, natural bee hives have been found to efficiently control high as well as low frequencies because of their geometry. It has been found from theoretical analysis and experimental investigations that this behaviour was owing to the conversion of acoustical energy into vibration energy. This vibration energy is dissipated in the form of heat due to wall damping property. Mimicking this property as an engineering solution could offer a cost-effective method for controlling noise pollution.


Dr. B. Venkatesham and Dr. Surya, faculty at Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at IIT Hyderabad, fabricated low thickness and strong acoustic panels mimicking this property using biomimetic design methodology. The design methodology involves understanding the physics of bee hive sample acoustic energy dissipation and then mimicking its design. The team developed a mathematical model and calculated optimized parameters, and then fabricated the test samples using systematic, controlled parameters. Subsequently, fabrication of a large sample was done. They have used two different approaches and their respective prototype machines with two different kinds of materials. One prototype is for paper honeycomb based on indexed -Honeycomb Before Expansion (HOBE) process, and another prototype machine is for polymer honeycomb structure based on hot wire technique.


The panels were made by slicing stacked extruded polypropene straws. The slicing process is done with the help of hot wire, which also bonds the straws together. The developed technology provides a mechanism of acoustic energy dissipation with lower thickness and higher specific strength of acoustic panels. A test facility to measure the absorption coefficient of large samples has also been established as part of this work.


This technology, supported by the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies programme of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, is in the 6th stage of Technology Readiness Level, and Dr B. Venkatesham has allied with Eaton PVT Ltd, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation Kharadi Knowledge Park, Pune. He plans to further scale up the technology demonstration, develop a batch production machine for polymer materials, fabricate with newer alternative self-damping materials, and compliance with other safety requirements like flame retarding capacities, weather ability and so on. Dr Venkatesham says that it may create an opportunity to capture 15% of the traditional sound-absorbing acoustic material market based on the low-frequency applications.





For more details, Dr B. Venkatesham (9912986892, [email protected]) can be contacted.






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Tubular Polypropylene

Paper honeycomb

Natural honeybee hive

Engineered acoustic panels








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Tubular Polypropylene

Paper honeycomb

Prototype Machines for large sample fabrication
 

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New nano-composite to beat antimicrobial resistance--India Science Wire
The battle against antimicrobial resistance is set to get a major boost with researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Roorkee and Bengaluru-based startup Log 9 Materials Scientific Pvt. Ltd., developing a new non-toxic antibacterial and antibiofilm composite.


Bacterial biofilms are notorious for resisting antibiotics, escaping immune systems, and other external stresses, resulting in persistent chronic infections, particularly when formed in damp indoor settings. Biofilms pose a serious global health concern.


Formed when different colonies or even a single type of bacterial cells adhere to biotic or abiotic surfaces, they get embedded in a matrix composed of extracellular polymeric substances. Biofilms form on different surfaces including hospital surfaces, healthcare implants, swimming pools, water tanks, and water treatment plants, and hence easily transmit infections. Of these, hospital-acquired infections are the most dangerous as observed by the extremely high incidence of multidrug-resistant bacterial illnesses in hospital settings.


The battle against antimicrobial resistance is set to get a major boost with researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Roorkee and Bengaluru-based startup Log 9 Materials Scientific Pvt. Ltd., developing a new non-toxic antibacterial and antibiofilm composite.
Studies have shown that nanomaterials with their unique physicochemical and antibacterial properties can break the chain of microbe proliferation, preventing biofilm formations via diverse mechanisms. But for human use, such nanomaterials need to be non-toxic.


Researchers from IIT Roorkee and Log 9 Materials Scientific Private Limited, which is funded under the Department of Biotechnology’s Bengaluru-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP)’s Biotech Ignition Grant scheme, have now developed an antibacterial and antibiofilm composite using non-toxic and hydrophobic nanomaterial, graphene nanoplatelets (GNP), and tannic acid and silver. When tested, it exhibited good antibacterial properties.


According to the scientists, it showed complete growth inhibition against gram-negative bacteria, Escherichia coli at a concentration as low as 64 μg/mL while it showed complete inhibition against gram-positive bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus at a concentration of 128 μg/mL. When epoxy coatings based on the material were applied on glass substrates, more than 97% antibiofilm efficiency was seen against the antibiotic-resistant, Methicillin strain of S. aureus.


When coated on a surface, the abundant presence of hydroxyl groups due to tannic acid, hydrophobicity of graphene and epoxy, and remarkable antibacterial efficiency of tannic acid, silver, and graphene was found to synergistically enhance the antibiofilm efficiency. Additionally, this coating was found to be highly stable in water, the common solvent most surfaces come in contact with, and no active component was found to be leaching out.


India Science Wire
 

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High-quality transparent ceramics developed for the first time in India can be used in thermal imaging and personal protection equipments


Posted On: 15 SEP 2021 6:23PM by PIB Delhi



Indian researchers have developed transparent ceramics, reaching theoretical transparency through a technique called colloidal processing followed by simultaneous application of temperature and pressure, for the first time in India. The material can be used for thermal imaging applications, especially in harsh service conditions and personal protection systems such as, helmets, face shields, and goggles.


Transparent ceramics is a new class of advanced materials with unique transparency and excellent mechanical properties. These materials can be designed not only for transparent to visible light but also for ultraviolet (UV), Infrared (IR), and Radiofrequency (RF), giving opportunity for diverse applications. Though produced by different countries globally, transparent ceramics are restricted in supply as they can be used for strategic applications. Though several attempts were made in the country, the transparent ceramics produced were either on a laboratory scale or low transparency. Currently developed process is able to produce the sizes usable for several applications and on a pilot scale.


Generally, prepared from the high purity powders through a line of critically engineered processing steps, transparent ceramics needs preparation processes that will help achieve theoretical transparency by eliminating defects. Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) involving reactions of the precursors in the vapor phase at elevated temperatures and HotIsostatic Pressing (HIP) involving simultaneous application of temperature and pressure are a few advanced processing techniques generally practiced to address the above challenges. An enhanced diffusion process at high temperature under pressure is suggested as the possible mechanism to eliminate the defects.


Researchers at the ARCI have produced magnesium aluminate spinel ceramics with colloidal processing followed by HIP technique which involves the simultaneous application of temperature and pressure. Spinel is currently emerging as a transparent ceramic based on the outstanding optical properties of transmission – more than 75 % in the visible and more than 80% in the infrared range. It also has higher strength of 200 megapascal and hardness of more than 13 Gigapascal. This research has been published in the journal ‘Materials Chemistry and Physics’ recently.


With potential applications in infantry personal protection systems involving thermal imaging such as helmets, face shields, and goggles, these transparent ceramics developed in India is a step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat.





(a)

















(b)





Fig.1. Transparent ceramic samples before (a) and after HIPing at ARCI(b)





Fig.2.The transmission curve of a spinel sample developed at ARCI
 

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Low carbon bricks developed using construction and demolition waste for energy-efficient walling envelopes


Posted On: 16 SEP 2021 12:42PM by PIB Delhi



Researchers have developed a technology to produce energy-efficient walling materials using construction and demolition (C&D) waste and alkali-activated binders. These are called low-C bricks, do not require high-temperature firing, and avoid the use of high-energy materials such as Portland cement. The technology will also solve the disposal problems associated with C&D waste mitigation.


Conventionally, building envelopes consist of masonry walls built with burnt clay bricks, concrete blocks, hollow clay blocks, fly ash bricks, lightweight blocks, and so on. The envelopes spend energy during their production, thus incurring carbon emission (i.e., possess embodied carbon) consume mined raw material resources which lead to unsustainable constructions. The masonry units are manufactured either through the process of firing or using high-energy/embodied carbon binders such as Portland cement. As a result, the annual consumption of bricks and blocks in India is about 900 million tonnes. Besides, the construction industry generates vast amounts (70 – 100 million tonnes per annum) of construction and demolition waste (CDW). In order to promote sustainable construction, two important issues need to be addressed while manufacturing the masonry units – conserving mined raw material resources and emission reduction.


Moving towards this target, scientists of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) developed a technology for producing alkali-activated bricks/blocks by utilising fly ash and furnace slag. The team of researchers developed low embodied carbon bricks from CDW waste through an alkali activation process using fly ash and ground slag and characterising the thermal, structural, and durability characteristics of Low-C bricks and their masonry. After ascertaining the Physico-chemical and compaction characteristics of the CDW, the optimum mix ratios of the materials were obtained, and then the production process was evolved to produce low-C bricks. Based on the optimum binder proportions, the compressed bricks were manufactured. The bricks were examined for engineering characteristics.


The major beneficiary of this development undertaken by IISc Bangalore with funding from the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, is the construction industry in general and the building sector in particular. This technology will also mitigate the disposal problems associated with the C&D wastes.


“A start-up has been registered which will be functional within 6-9 months to manufacture low-C bricks and blocks with IISc technical help. The start-up unit will act as a technology dissemination unit through training, capacity building, and providing technical know-how for establishing such commercial units across India,” remarked Prof. B V Venkatarama Reddy, IISc Bangalore.


For more details, contact Prof. B V Venkatarama Reddy, IISc Bangalore ([email protected])


.



 

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A new method developed to convert poultry feather & wool waste to animal feed & fertilizer


Posted On: 16 SEP 2021 3:03PM by PIB Delhi



Indian scientists have developed a new sustainable and affordable solution for converting keratin waste such as human hair, wool, and poultry feathers to fertilizers, pet, and animal feeds. India generates a huge amount of human hair, poultry feather waste, and wool waste each year. These wastes are dumped, buried, used for landfilling, or incinerated, increasing environmental hazards, pollution, and threat to public health and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. These wastes are inexpensive sources of amino acids and protein, underlining their potential to be used as animal feed and fertilizer.


Professor A. B. Pandit, Vice-Chancellor, Institute of Chemical Technology Mumbai, along with his students, has developed a technology to covert the keratin waste to food for pets and fertilizers for plants. This novel technology is patented, easily scalable, environment-friendly, energy-efficient, and it will make amino acid-rich liquid fertilizers more economical as compared to currently marketed products.


They used advanced oxidation for the conversion of the waste to marketable fertilizers and animal feed. The key technology behind this involves pre-treatment followed by hydrolysis of keratin using a technique called Hydrodynamic Cavitation, which involves vaporization, bubble generation, and bubble implosion in a flowing liquid.


The current chemicals and physical methods for such conversion are energy-intensive, chemically hazardous, and involve multiple steps resulting in a higher cost of the final product. As calculated by the team, with this technology, the cost of the product at a large-scale plant, processing inputs of 1-ton per, is up to 3 folds cheaper than the existing market product.


The scientists are currently implementing this technology at a large scale in collaboration with Revoltech Technologies Private Limited, Gujarat. This advancement in production will make the liquid biofertilizers which are three folds more efficient than the marketed product, available to farmers at an affordable rate.


For more details, contact Professor A. B. Pandit, Vice-chancellor, Institute of Chemical Technology, Matunga, Mumbai ([email protected]).








Lab-scale system





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Demonstration system (50 L)


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sorcerer

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India’s first pilot plant to convert high ash coal to methanol can accelerate the country’s journey towards clean technology


Posted On: 17 SEP 2021 4:51PM by PIB Delhi



India has developed an indigenous technology to convert high ash Indian coal to methanol and established its first pilot plant in Hyderabad. This technology will help the country move towards the adoption of clean technology and promote the use of methanol as a transportation fuel (blending with petrol), thus reducing crude oil imports.


The broad process of converting coal into methanol consists of conversion of coal to synthesis (syngas) gas, syngas cleaning and conditioning, syngas to methanol conversion, and methanol purification. Coal to methanol plants in most countries are operated with low ash coals. Handling of high ash and heat required to melt this high amount of ash is a challenge in the case of Indian coal, which generally has high ask content.





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For more details, Tirupathi Naidu Ch Deputy Manager, IGCC Dept. BHEL Corp. R&D ([email protected]) can be contacted.


In order to overcome this challenge, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has developed the fluidized bed gasification technology suitable for high ash Indian coals to produce syngas and then convert syngas to methanol with 99% purity. BHEL has integrated its existing coal to syngas pilot plant at Hyderabad with suitable downstream process for converting syngas into methanol. This pilot-scale project with a methanol generation capacity of 0.25 metric tons per day has been initiated by NITI Aayog and funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under Clean Energy Research Initiative.


Currently, the pilot plant is producing methanol with purity of more than 99%. Scaling it up will help in optimum utilization of the country’s energy reserves and accelerate its journey towards self-reliance.
 

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The future is here? India may soon get its first 'electric highway'; what it means

The central government is mulling over the concept of an ‘electric highway’, to be built between the national capital of Delhi and Jaipur in Rajasthan. Union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari said on Friday said the government is already in talks with a foreign company to build the electric highway – his “dream” project – between these two cities and that the construction work might start very soon if the discussions come through. Hindustan Times' sister publication HT Auto reports that in addition to the Delhi-Jaipur stretch, another electric highway may also be constructed between Delhi and Mumbai, and talks are on with a Swedish firm regarding that.


 

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Made in India: Chennai startup set to launch Asia's first hybrid electric flying car
Srishti Goel

3 minutes


Flying automobiles are often regarded as one of the pinnacles of technological achievement. There are several businesses working on such flying cars, and an Indian company appears to be ahead of them all in the race to introduce Asia's first electric flying car.
Vinata Aeromobility, a Chennai-based firm, is set to unveil its autonomous hybrid flying automobile very soon. The team also met with Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who praised the start-up's concept and expressed excitement about the possibilities that this hybrid car has to offer.


 

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