The technology will provide an additional source of income to farmers as paddy waste can be used to produce energy devices that can be used by the industry. This approach can make a key contribution to reducing stubble burning and burning of other farm waste in North India.
Currently, the quantum of paddy waste generated is 76 million metric tonnes a year in India. Farmers consider burning straw as the most low-cost and efficient alternative to tailing the straw into the soil. This causes substantial pollution and severe ecological problems. Besides, burning reduces the potential utilisation of biomass. The estimated loss for India alone is about Rs 92, 600 crore.
Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras, said, “Agriculture still continues to be at the heart of India’s economy. This breakthrough technology that converts biomass such as paddy waste into activated carbon, will have a significant bearing on our health, environment and the economy.”
Explaining the key benefits of this technology, Tiju Thomas, Associate Professor, Department of Metallurgical and Materials, IIT Madras, said, “The solution that we are identifying is a well-defined process. It will allow for conversion of paddy waste of the country to commercial standard carbon material and the use of the activated carbon to fabricate supercapacitors that comply with the market standard. The material will be implemented in the form of a suitable supercapacitor-based hybrid energy storage device.”