Three graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, Ankur Kumar, Kanika Prajatat and Pracheer Dutta have developed a machine that can convert the hardy straw of paddy into a fibrous raw material that can be used by the pulp molding factories to prepare disposable cutlery.
In India despite a Supreme Court order, and a government scheme that offers stubble management machines at subsidized rates, farmers continue to burn crop residue after harvest, as they find it cheaper than clearing the crop residue manually or by using machines. The practice is rampant across rice-growing belts as paddy straw is neither a suitable fuel nor can be used as cattle feed. The situation is worse in Punjab and Haryana as the smoke resulting from burning the residue chokes Delhi and envelops the entire northern India with dense toxic smog for weeks.
Paddy straw is rich in silica, which slows down its rate of degradation and hence farmers choose to burn it post harvest to make the land reusable faster. The new machine, created by the trio as the first product of their startup Kriya Lab, uses an environment-friendly chemical that can strip the straw of silica, making it supple and usable. The pulp can be used as raw material for the pulp and paper industry.
For now the machine can convert one ton of paddy straw into 500 kilograms of pulp, which can then be sold at Rs. 45 per kilogram. It holds promise for those who want to start commercially viable ventures as there is a growing demand for ecofriendly cutlery and packaging materials, particularly the ones made from biomass waste. Read more
At a time when the agricultural workforce is scarce, three mechanical engineering graduates in Puducherry have developed a multifunctional machine prototype to help farmers in sowing seeds, removing weeds, and harvesting crops.
C Premkumar, R Sathianarayanan and N Hemachandran have developed a prototype machine to assist farmers in sowing and harvesting crops like groundnut and pulses and in removing weeds in the fields. The developers said the machine, which can be powered by diesel or solar energy or biogas, would enhance the agricultural yield as it sows seeds at equal intervals and harvests crops without damaging them.
The machine also reduces the time consumed for farming activities. A worker with the help of the machine will take roughly two to three hours for sowing one acre of land whereas to complete the task manually it requires minimum two workers to toil for six to eight hours. Moreover, the machine can sow eight rows in one stretch while manually workers can sow only one row at a time.
The trio’s prototype is cost-effective as compared to existing machines in the market. Also, as it is self-powered, it does not need to be connected to a tractor for sowing, unlike the existing sowing machines in the market. Read more
IIT-Madras alumnus and former employee of Wipro, Sasi Sekar Krish has developed an integrated cashew testing and grading solution for cashew nuts farmers. Apparently, the new machine, called nanoSorter, uses image processing to test and grade cashews.
A Microelectronics engineer, Krish began with using his expertise in image processing to develop an integrated camera-based solution for the automotive industry. The application could inspect machine parts and sort different types of nuts and bolts. In the following years, he founded nanoPix in 2004 and modified nanoSorter for cashew nuts farmers.
Farmers who grow cashew nuts don’t have any way of grading them. With nanoSorter farmers can grade the nuts themselves and sell the produce at a substantially higher price. The nanoSorter is an end-to-end integrated solution for farmers. It handles cashews automatically and does machine vision-based sorting and grading of cashews based on eight initial categories. Read more
A team of students from India recently won the US $60,000 grand prize at the Dell Social Innovation Challenge (DSIC 2013) for its project, Solar Conduction Dryer. The winning team comprised two Indian students, Shital Somani and Vaibhav Tidke from Mumbai.
Their project aims at addressing the 20-30 percent food spoilage rate for poor rural Indian farmers via cost-effective dehydrators powered by solar conduction. The innovation will enable farmers to keep more of their crops and sell dehydrated fruits and vegetables as another income source. Read more
Three entrepreneurs from Chennai have developed a functional beverage from raw banana, the consumption of which can prevent the risk of intestinal diseases, as reported by the Times News Network. Murlidharan, an agriculturist and Pallavi, a post graduate in bio chemistry, along with another student Shreepriya, have been working on the functional beverage for past six years.
According to Murlidharan, “The beverage is full of bio active components. Neither any ingredient is added nor any nutrient is removed from raw banana. We have only changed the molecular structure of raw banana.” The beverage has been initially tested. “It helps in prevention of effects of bad lifestyle on human intestine. The higher levels of tests and glyco biological research on it are in the pipeline. No food industry has produced such a beverage yet,” adds Murlidharan.
Murlidharan and his team recently presented their business plan about the functional beverage in ‘Magnate’, a business plan competition organised by Malviya Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (MCIIE), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), and Banaras Hindu University (BHU). Prior to this, their business idea was recognised in Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Kozikhode and IIM-Ahmedabad. Read more