Roorkee:IIT-Roorkee on Tuesday transferred the technology for making biodegradable polybags to a Noida-based private firm. The firm, Agrsar Innovatives LLP, uses the institute’s technology for its commercial benefit and will manufacture environment-friendly polybags in large quantities.
The chemical engineering department of the institute had developed thermoplastic starch, blended with LDPE (low-density polyethylene–a low-weight plastic material), which eventually paved the way for producing biodegradable plastic. Thermoplastic starch (TPS), a biopolymer, is a plasticized form of natural starch obtained from natural sources such as cassava, maize, potato, rice, wheat, corn, etc along with plasticizer. It is mainly amorphous, whereas ordinary starch is crystalline. Due to its amorphous character, it can be blended with LDPE.
Two years ago, Prof PP Kundu from the chemical engineering department at IIT-R, had developed the TPS from the starch of maize. Since TPS has poor mechanical properties such as low tensile strength, high water vapour permissibility (WVP), and serves deformation, it becomes a perfect biodegradable material after blending with polyethylene (a plastic material used for carrying bags). At present, polybags made from polyethylene up to 75 microns are banned.
“When our TPS is blended with polyethylene, a film from 20 to 100 microns, made by this processed material, becomes biodegradable. These films (material sheet) become biodegradable in 180 days at 58 degree Celsius,” said Prof Kundu.
The beneficiary of the technology, Agrsar Innovatives, has claimed that it is for the first time in the country that a biodegradable material for manufacturing carry bags is being produced.
“It is the first time in the country that bioplastics granules from organic starch are being produced, else these are being imported from Germany, China, Vietnam and Indonesia after spending huge money,” said Dr Sapna Balhara, CEO, Agrsar. Source: Times of India