Newdelhi:29/3/23:Inspired by the idea of Hon’ble Prime Minister, aimed at making all our cities ‘Garbage Free’ under Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban 2.0 and focus on ‘Swachhta’, Technology Development Board, a statutory body of Department of Science & Technology, Government of India invited applications from Indian companies having innovative/indigenous technologies at commercialization stage in waste management domain. The call for proposal aimed at making Indian cities waste free and at the same time generate wealth from waste through technology interventions i.e., ‘Waste to Wealth’.
Today, Technology Development Board signed the first agreement under the initiative. TDB penned the agreement with M/s Sahi Fab Private Limited, New Delhi for development & commercialisation of ‘Agricultural waste of stem materials like industrial hemp, flax and nettle etc. into Fibre’. The board has pledged a support of ₹1.38 Crores out of the total project cost of ₹2.08 crores.
Industrial Hemp (iHemp) is made up of varieties of Cannabis Sativa that `contain less than 0.3% Tetra hydro cannabinol (THC). The small brown seeds (iHemp) contain a rich nutritional food containing protein, fibre, and healthy fatty acids, including omega-3s and omega-6s that help in reducing symptoms of several diseases, improving the health of the heart, skin, and joints.
In addition, the stem holds various properties such as antibacterial properties, prevention of UV rays owing to its composition consisting of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, lignin etc. Whereas, it consumes less amount of water in cultivation as compared to cotton, emits less carbon dioxide, uses less energy and better carbon sequestration than cotton and polyester fibre. However, due to lack of technology it remained unexploited, despite being a good source of sustainable, environment friendly fibre and also one of the strongest and most durable natural textile fibres.
Thus, with an aim to creating wealth out of the unexploited waste, the company has come up with an innovative solution by manufacturing fiber /fibrous products out of this waste in three steps as follows:
- Decortication: The hemp stem is processed through the indigenously developed Decorticator machine.
- Wet Processing: The extracted fiber is treated with alkali / enzymes using high temperature high pressure (HTHP) machines.
- Fiber Processing: The treated fiber is individualized through carding and can be processed through different routes, one of them being needle punching (non- woven).
The extracted fiber from the stem will not only contribute to circular economy and but also upsurge the income of the farmers by 7 times approx.
Speaking on the occasion, Sh. Rajesh Kumar Pathak, IP&TAFS, Secretary, TDB said that, “TDB has been a forerunner in helping innovative indigenous technologies, aimed at improving the ease of living for common man. Many of the Start-ups are venturing into fresh domains, and therefore seeks financial assistance to accomplish their endeavours. M/s Sahi Fab is one such start-up which is developing Fibre from agricultural waste that remained unexploited due to lack of technology.”