Researchers at CSIR’s Advanced Materials and Process Research Institute (AMPRI) in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal have successfully converted stubble into eco-friendly hybrid wood. This breakthrough could give some hope to the issue of rampant stubble burning in and around Delhi during winter, which is believed to be a major factor in the national capital region being blanketed in thick smog every year.
The Bhopal institute has developed an internationally patented and new technology for making evergreen hybrid plywood and composite wood parali (stubble) and other industrial waste particulate matter and fibers as raw materials. Converting the agro-industrial waste into processed wood reduces wood consumption, which in turn reduces deforestation. The waste-to-wealth tech wood is 30% cheaper and 20% stronger than conventional particulate wood and plywood. Experts believe that this can solve the long-standing problem of stubble burning by farmers in northern India, as it can now be used to make doors, partition panels, roofing sheets and thermal insulation materials.
Chief scientist at CSIR-AMPRI, Ashokan Pappu, said: “We only have polymer and parali for this. The commercialization ready technology produces composites with a high quality gloss finish that is 60% parali in a polymer system. This has great conversion potential parali both in cash and to generate income for farmers. Compared to chipboard and plywood, they are much better. We interacted with many stakeholders in Punjab and Haryana for recycling parali. We have also applied for a patent in India and the US.”
The Bhopal-based CSIR lab began working in 2010 to find an environmentally friendly solution to toxic fly ash generated by thermal power plants in MP’s Singrauli district and adjacent areas. Nearly a decade of research by AMPRI scientists led to the development of the alternative wood from fly ash, which was suitable for making furniture and decorative objects.
Prof Avanish Kumar Srivastava, Director, CSIR-AMPRI said: “This has been tested to BIS standards, it is a waste of wealth technology and will generate a full circular economy. This wood has been tested on key parameters including water absorption, mechanical strength and chemical parameters. It is processed at room temperature, so the need for energy is also very minimal. The innovative composite materials have various applications for civil infrastructure such as doors, false ceilings, architectural wall panels, partitions and furniture, etc. CSIR-AMPRI’s technology is a green solution for the paraliburning environmental problem, and contributes to the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative as it creates employment opportunities and improves the livelihoods of farmers.”
The product was showcased at the India International Science Festival in Bhopal and would be seen in the market for the next two years. The technology has been licensed to an industrial unit in Chhattisgarh, and many more industries are expected to be set up using this technology from CSIR.
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