IIT Roorkee researchers develop sustainable technologies to tackle plastic, e-waste

IIT Roorkee researchers use zero-waste discharge concept to develop sustainable technologies in line with ‘Smart Cities’ and ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’.

IIT Roorkee researchers develop sustainable technologies to tackle plastic, e-waste IIT Roorkee research. (Picture: Press Release)
Ishita Ranganath | Jan 31, 2023 - 3:08 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IITR) is developing sustainable technologies to tackle plastics and e-waste. The researchers at IITR developed e-waste recycling processes that align themselves with initiatives such as 'Smart cities' and 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' using zero-waste discharge concept.

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The IIT Roorkee research group headed by IIT Roorkee, director, KK Pant has been working on such technologies. The adopted methodology is further divided into two steps- Pyrolysis of e-waste and separation of metal fraction, and individual recovery of metals.

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The recycling process used here can be scaled-up and be used an a viable alternative to traditional hazardous acid-leaching techniques used currently. Based on the lab-experiments, a 10 kg/h continuously operated pyrolysis pilot plant has been designed. The e-waste procession also includes separation of metals precipitation, electro-deposition and cementation techniques.

In case of plastic waste, IIT Roorkee researchers focused on developing an integrated waste management approach involving the use of waste polymer materials for production of liquid range hydrocarbons using catalytic cracking. "The developed two-step approach leads to the100% conversion of waste plastic into value-added products comprising 75% liquids, and approximately 25% of the gas fraction," read a press statement.

The group is also working on several initiatives on 'circular economy', a model of production and consumption that involves utilizing and recycling existing materials for as long as possible. Other research areas b the group include- biomass conversion to fuels and value-added chemicals and hydrogen from biomass and RDF gasification.

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Elaborating on the importance of such research, IIT Roorkee, director, KK Pant, said: “It is important to develop sustainable processes to handle plastic and e-waste, which are being generated in huge quantities in India, especially with the exponential increase in the use of electronic devices. If such processes are not developed and implemented across the country at the earliest, the e-waste could lead to long-term ecological and environmental degradation. The closed-loop recycling process proposed by IIT Roorkee researchers can potentially be scaled-up and used as a viable environmentally-benign alternative to traditionally used acid-leaching techniques posing immense hazardous risks.”

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