India will soon have first of its kind "Center Of Excellence & Innovation" (CoEI) for Biopolymers. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to this effect was signed between Dr. Pramod Chaudhari, Founder Chairman of Praj Industries (Praj) and Mr. Aniruddha Pandit, Vice Chancellor of ICT today in Mumbai. "Parimal And Pramod Chaudhari Centre Of Excellence and Innovation For Biopolymers" will undertake research, promote academic pursuit and explore newer applications.
Biopolymer, an important element in Renewable Chemicals and Materials (RCM), is produced from agricultural resources and can be used as sustainable alternative to plastic. Being biodegradable in nature, it helps conserve environment.
CoEI will have State of the Art laboratory for developing novel methods & standards for biopolymers characterization, processing and modification. Besides enhancing existing usage of biopolymers in medical and cosmetic field, CoEI intends to expand its application in other sectors. These include industries such as packaging, food service, consumer goods, agriculture, textiles, electronics, energy storage etc. CoEI will take up application development of bio plastics viz. PHA* and PLA** as its first collaborative project.
As a sustainable climate action company, Praj has been developing and deploying innovative process solutions in Bioeconomy since past four decades. BioMobilityTM platform of biofuels for decarbonatization of transportation sector and Bio-PrismTM portfolio of technologies for production of RCM for carbon recycling are Praj's flagship offerings in Bioeconomy.
ICT is India's premier university devoted to education, training, research and industrial collaboration in chemical engineering, chemical technology, applied chemistry, pharmacy, biotechnology and bio-processing. ICT Mumbai's Polymer and Surface Engineering department has been involved in the education and research in the area of polymer science and engineering since 1950 and has expert faculty and laboratories.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Pramod Chaudhari, Founder Chairman of Praj, said, "We are delighted to further reinforce our ongoing relationship with ICT through this MoU. World is grappling with climate crisis, and we need innovative technology solutions to ensure sustainable development. Together with ICT we intend to accelerate transition to carbohydrate-based economy by unleashing huge application potential of biopolymers. I am certain that CoEI will pave way for greater usage of environment friendly materials in industry as well as society."
Globally renowned scientist PadmaViBhushan Prof. M.M Sharma who was present on the occasion opined "I compliment Dr. Chaudhari, Praj and ICT for this collaboration that can make huge impact in biopolymer space that holds high growth potential". Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, Chancellor of ICT and India's most eminent scientists, who joined this even online said "I admire Dr. Chaudhari for his belief in doing well by doing good. A very distinctive mindset is required to take new concept from mind to marketplace. I am certain that this partnership will accelerate the biopolymer development to make them affordable, scalable and sustainable."
Expressing the views on this constructive alliance, Prof. Aniruddha Pandit, Vice Chancellor of ICT Mumbai said, "This is the future of renewable polymers, both of biological origin and biodegradable. The joining of forces by ICT and PRAJ is complementary and is a great multiplier. The expertise from fermentation to polymer processing of this combined team is expected to come out with sustainable solutions in this field of renewable polymers."
RCMs provide sustainable alternatives to chemicals and material derived from fossil resources. As a part of 'Race to Zero' campaign towards carbon neutrality, several global conglomerates are adopting sustainable materials to minimize their carbon footprints.
** PLA: Polylactic acid