Motivation

Plastics are the most commonly used materials in today’s scenario due to their low cost, lightweight, and ability to be easily processed and commercially produced. However, more than ninety-nine percent of polymers for plastics are produced by exploiting non-renewable petrochemical feedstock. It is noteworthy to mention that currently, packaging sector accounts for over forty percent of the total worldwide plastic consumption. Further, plastics are categorically used in commodity, engineering, and medical applications. However, the high-volume usage of conventional non-degradable plastics is compromising environmental sustainability. To overcome this disadvantage of conventional plastics, the scientific community has been exploring a large number of alternatives including bio-based and preferably biodegradable plastics. These have obtained increased attention both due to their ability to be degraded naturally into fundamental components and also due to the fact that they can be prepared from renewable bio-feedstock.
The importance of biobased materials has been realized and significant research on sustainable polymers is underway in other parts of the world. Institutions such as the University of Minnesota (USA), Kansas State University (USA), Iowa State University (USA), Kyoto Institute of Technology (Japan) etc. have established dedicated departments/centres targeting the generation of technical manpower and technologies on biobased and biodegradable plastics. It is noteworthy to mention that there is not a single academic centre offering academic program,s especially on sustainable polymers in India at present. Fundamental understanding of biopolymer and applied engineering research can be conducted only in a dedicated centre. The Centre for Sustainable Polymer is India’s first academic centre to primarily focus on generating a fundamental understanding on sustainable polymers and their development and study of related technologies. The aim is to train and produce highly knowledgeable and skilled technical manpower for sustainable growth for this sector, to offer consultancy to the industries, and act as a technological resource hub to stimulate innovation and bridge the gap between laboratory-scale research and industrial-scale development of sustainable polymers. Existing infrastructure and expertise at IIT Guwahati in this area from the current Centres of Excellences provide a significant foundation for this centre. The location of the centre in the northeast India is ideal considering the high potential in the region for the growth of sustainable industries and the unique biodiversity and ecology of the region. The centre conducts exhaustive dedicated research activities on the conversion of both bio feedstock and petrofeedstock into useful precursors for polymers, polymer development, it’s processing, testing and characterization, toxicity, composting, recycling and reusability, biomaterials, biobased nanomaterials and towards the exploration of several applications of these materials that are needed to support the eco-friendly society. Efforts are primarily focused on developing quality researchers who can further contribute towards translational research and Entrepreneurship for sustainable technologies dissemination.

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