An Applied Chemistry Professor and Innovative Entrepreneur from Nagpur.
In 2000, Alka Zadgaonkar, applied chemistry professor and Innovative Entrepreneur from Nagpur, invented a catalyst that can convert plastic waste into fuel in her lab. She claimed that almost all plastic products: bags, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), old raincoats and broken buckets can be converted into fuel through her processing method. There is also no problem with residue disposal or emission, as the solid residue is coke and the gaseous emission is pure LPG. Chlorinated plastics like PVC are particularly hazardous to burn because they emit dioxins. In the Alka Zadgaonkar process, the entire shredded mixture is melted at a low temperature and led to a de-gasification stage. Here chlorine is led away to harmlessly bubble through water, producing hydrochlorous acid.
Zadgaonkars? plant went into commercial production in March 2005, producing 5000 litres fuel from 5MT of waste daily. Fuel has not yet been given a brand name, presently can be used for seven functions such as running gensets ,can also run vehicles after more refining. Has better combustibility than petrol ,Bike did 0-60 in 18 secs on this fuel against 22 secs on petrol.
Born in 1962,Alka Zadgaonkar, now , the Head of the Department of Organic Chemistry at Nagpur?s G.H. Raisoni College of Engineering.
The journey :
2000: Dr Zadgaonkar, invents a catalyst that can convert plastic waste into fuel in her lab.
2001: With husband Umesh, Alka files for national and international patents.
2003: Government of India invites Alka to demonstrate her invention in New Delhi. She does so successfully. Ties up with Indian Oil Corporation for further testing and fine tuning the product.
2004: Zadgaonkars set up a plant for commercial production at Butibori industrial estate outside Nagpur with a Rs5.5 crore loan from SBI.
2005: By early March they start producing 5000 litres of fuel. Are selling it to about 30 units in the MIDC area for running captive power generators. The most critical stage of all inventions?commercial viability?is established. Even SBI in its project review report praises the couple for running a profitable business. State govt takes note. Signs up with the couple to develop the market for the fuel through the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency.