Crop residues in India, like paddy straw, create a problematic waste when they are left in the field or when they are discarded at processing factories. Although it is illegal, it is still a very common and unsustainable practice. In 2019, nine partiesjoined forces in order to use the residue in a different way: the idea of sustainable packaging was born.
Bio4Pack, ECOR, Free the seed, Grameena Vikas Kendram Society for Rural Development, Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, LT Foofs, PaperWise, Mars Uncle Bens and MVO Nederland (CSR the Netherlands) signed a declaration of intent and started to work on this product. We propose to develop several technologies which produces a pulp suitable for packaging and building materials. The system will consist of several steps for removal and purification of components of the paddy straw such as: silica, minerals, protein and a part of the lignin and hemi-cellulose. We want to combine several of these biorefinery techniques in order to get the best result. Depending on the proposed end product and raw material different techniques will be chosen.
The problem with valorizing paddy-straw
Why is this harder than it sounds? Finding applications for these residues has been difficult as the residues are often:
- The residues are often wet (up to 85% moisture)
- The residues are often bulky (100 kg / m3 is common)
- The high nutrient content prevents efficient conversion to energy.
- Large investments in transport and storage are required (residues are removed in a short period of time)
However, at the same time companies worldwide are looking for renewable packaging technologies to replace plastics and concrete or materials based on virgin wood. Moreover, the simple burning of the paddy straw leads to pollution. So, despite the complexities we definitely have a business case. We are already on our way. However, with more hands on deck we could make this process work even better and consider even more possibilities.
Biorefinery techniques wanted
We are especially looking for companies that have technologies to extract carbon or silica. Also other complementary techniques or solutions to the abovementioned problems are welcome.
Does your company or organization have (potential) technical solutions that could help us further? Then please don’t hesitate to contact us by uploading your solution, matching your existing one to this item or make a comment down below We are based in the Netherlands, but collaborating with us could help you open doors in India and beyond. We are looking forward to seeing your solutions.