IPRs for eco-friendly inventions are highly prioritised today
IPRs for green inventions are the need of the hour. Living in a rapidly-developing world, we often hear of new and exciting intellectual properties and innovations. These inventions make our lives easy, while also providing financial benefits to the inventors. However, while most inventions are a stroke of genius, the sad truth is that some of them have significant ramifications on humankind – many inventions are severely damaging the planet, since new innovations mean new factories. These factories, in turn, emit poisonous gases, use several megawatts of electricity and pollute water bodies. As such, there is an imminent need to carve a path to a green future in these modern times. Humankind must come together in its fight against environmental concerns such as global warming, climate change, resource depletion, and pollution.
Fortunately, there are several environmentally conscious entrepreneurs and companies who are doing their bit to make our planet a better, more habitable place. These entities are leading the charge by creating all-natural, eco-friendly products that ensure safety from harmful and poisonous chemicals causing adverse effects on the planet. Such is the power of eco-friendly inventions – they can drastically improve our quality of life and ensure the safety of our families, and by extension, our planet. Here is a look at ten indigenous, eco-friendly and clean-tech inventions that could potentially save the world.
- Roads made out of plastic waste
Plastic can potentially harm not only the planet, but also animals, plants, and the environment. The toxic chemicals in plastic expose humankind to congenital disabilities, cancers, and impaired immunity. Plastic is everywhere, and it is polluting the earth. To prevent this, the Government of India issued an order for road developers to use plastic and heated bituminous mixes for constructing roads. The order was issued after Padma Shri Awardee, and Chemistry Professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan of Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai developed the technology, with no additional machinery. In his research, the professor learnt that plastic could increase the aggregate impact value of roads, i.e., it can increase the longevity or roads, reduce potholes and other deformities, which chiefly arise due to the weight of vehicles. Using plastic in constructing roads also improves the quality of pavements. It also reduces the wear and tear of roads in the long run and prevents water percolation. Furthermore, the technology also prevents the release of toxic gases during the process of construction. Repurposing plastic waste, Plastic road is one of the most unique eco-friendly inventions ever.
- A futuristic ship that cleans the oceans
In his quest to clean up polluted oceans of the world in 2018, 12-year-old Haaziq Kazi of Pune developed a futuristic ‘ocean cleaning ship’. Named the ERVIS, the ship essentially sucks out the plastic waste from the water bodies. Apart from that, the ship is also designed to analyse and segregate the waste according to size, and pump the filtered water back into oceans without harming marine life. The ERVIS is known for its unique design, featuring attached saucers that clean the waste floating on the surface of the ocean. It also stops the waste at the ocean surface and prevents it from getting disposed of by water vessels. At only 14 years old, Haaziq is working on the logistics of managing the waste collected by the ERVIS.
- The passive solar water wall
While speaking of IPR for eco-friendly inventions, we must mention the passive solar water wall developed by Sahashranshu Maurya and Somrup Chakraborty, students of IIT Kharagpur. After realising that air conditioners guzzle electricity and produce approximately 1.5 tonnes of carbon each year, the two students came up with an alternative that could replace the appliance. They invented a passive solar water wall, which features a cooling system revolving around a rectangular water tank. The tank is fitted into a wall and has a very high surface area which allows the air and tank walls to interact, while also rapidly cooling the room. The technology is designed in such a way that the absorbed heat is continuously removed from the system by the water used by the household on a daily basis. The passive solar water wall ensures no CFC or carbon emissions, decreased reduction in electricity consumption, and also reduces the cost of cooling by approximately 50 per cent.
- Edible bags by EnviGreen
Yet another IPR for green inventions that is tackling the issue of plastic waste, edible bags were invented by entrepreneur Ashwath Hedge. While India took necessary steps to move away from plastic several years ago, Ashwath realised that many people found it difficult to find alternatives to plastic. Being a concerned environmentalist, he eventually designed a bag that combined natural starch derived from potatoes and tapioca and vegetable oils and named it the EnivGreen bag. The bag looks and feels exactly like a plastic bag but has none of the problems. These bags are designed to degrade naturally in six months, and if submerged in water, they can disappear in one day. Also, the edible aspect of the bag comes from the fact that if they are discarded and animals happen to eat them, there will be no adverse effects on their health.
- The Ulta Chaata harvester
Rainwater harvesting plays a crucial role in water conservation by reducing the use of potable water and increasing humankind’s reliability on rainwater. With this goal in mind, the entrepreneur couple Priya and Samit Choksi invented an indigenous patented system, named Ulta Chatta. Ulta Chatta is designed to converge rainwater and generate renewable energy smartly. It is essentially a canopy that captures rainwater and filters it with the help of an integrated five-step filtration unit. It also comprises of taps which are fitted to a storage tank, such that users can get purified drinking water. Ulta Chaata also works as a system that generates solar energy in that it provides lighting at night and helps charge devices. Moreover, the invention is also IoT (Internet of Things) – enabled and helps collect useful data about the environment. This eco invention was specially designed to be installed in smart cities in India as well as industries and large campuses. A single Ulta Chaata unit helps harvest approximately 100,000 litres of water while capturing energy with a maximum power of 1.5 kilowatts.
- Low-cost wind turbines
Kerala-based entrepreneurs and siblings Anoop and Arun George are credited with inventing low-cost wind turbines through their start-up Avant Garde Innovations. This eco invention has the capacity to generate sufficient electricity to power an entire house for a whole lifetime. The wind turbine resembles a ceiling fan in its size but, unlike the ceiling fan, it has several blades. The turbines can potentially generate 5kWH/kW per day. The price of the wind turbine is significantly low and can cost you less than an iPhone. First introduced in January 2016, this revolutionary product won the George siblings a place in the Top 20 Clean-tech Innovations of India in the same year.
- The solar power tree
The solar power tree is yet another eco-invention that is doing its bit to save the planet and the world. The unique energy conservation system was developed by the CSIR – Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, which is a public engineering research and development institution located in the city of Durgapur in West Bengal. The invention is said to generate the same amount of electricity as generated by a conventional array, which is sufficient to light up five homes. However, it takes a much smaller plot of land to install the tree. The solar power tree consists of photovoltaic panels which are placed at different levels on branches made of steel, but designed to resemble a tree. As population density is a concern in India, the dramatic reduction of space taken to install the solar power tree means that it can be installed even in densely populated areas. Apart from generating enough energy, this invention is also harnessing 10 to 15 per cent more power as compared to solar arrays mounted on the ground. The solar power tree also charges a back-up battery system, which, on a full charge, can potentially provide about two hours of light, in the late evening. Furthermore, the tree also has a self-cleaning feature, which includes an in-built water sprinkler. This feature clears any debris that interferes with its efficiency.
- Edible cutlery
Plastic cutlery, be its spoons, forks or knives, are laced with toxins which can significantly harm the planet. To reduce the hazard of plastic cutlery on the environment, Telangana-based entrepreneur Narayana Peesapaty launched Bakey’s, an eco-friendly company that creates edible cutlery. The company makes three types of edible cutlery – plain, sweet, and savoury with ingredients like wheat, salt, and millets blended with rice. Customers can also choose their preferred flavours ranging from sugar to ginger-cinnamon and mint-ginger to black-pepper. The edible spoons are durable in both hot and cold liquids. They do not crack, dissolve or fall apart. They are free of preservatives and come with a shelf-life of three years. The technology behind this eco-friendly invention is to dry, harden and then bake the cutlery at high temperatures, (much like it is done in the oven). This process removes the water content from the raw materials significantly, while also increasing the shelf-life of the cutlery. To discourage people from using plastics, Bakey’s is selling the edible cutlery at the same price as plastic cutlery.
- Edible plates
In yet another move to prevent the use of plastic utensils, researchers at the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) in the city of Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, have invented edible plates. These plates are made of jackfruit skin and seeds, which are usually discarded. The prickly exterior of the jackfruit is used to make plates that are both palatable as well as biodegradable. According to C Anandharamakrishnan, the director at IIFPT, the idea of edible plates was born when the institute prepared a millet-based ice-cream and was looking for a tasty and healthy cone to hold the ice-cream. In their search for a suitable container to hold the ice-cream, they found that the jackfruit’s thick skin and seeds offered an economical and healthy alternative to regular ice-cream cones which are made of flour. While it is an eco-friendly solution that reduces plastic or paper waste, the invention of edible plates has also resulted in a demand for jackfruit, thus boosting the agriculture industry. Even if one does not like the taste of the edible plate and chooses to dump it in the waste bin, it degrades naturally with minimal carbon footprint on the planet.
- The portable biogas plant
The portable biogas plant is an ISO-certified eco-friendly invention that is doing its bit to make the planet a more habitable place. Developed by former Indian Navy Officer turned civil engineer Rajagopalan Nair, this invention can be used for both domestic, as well as commercial purposes. Rajagopalan Nair launched the eco-friendly biogas plant under his firm Hi-Tech Bio Solutions in Vasai, Mumbai, Maharashtra, after retiring from the Navy. The objective behind his invention is to introduce a system capable of eliminating wet waste such as fruit and vegetable peels, discarded meat, fish, and poultry waste, and other such forms of wet garbage. The portable biogas plant can effectively manage the wet waste produced in millions of households, restaurants, and commercial kitchens. Furthermore, the invention also converts the wastage produced in these kitchens, into different by-products such as cooking gas and liquid manure.
Final note: With the planet buckling under the burden of gas-emitting and polluting factories, companies need to be more environmentally conscious and make efforts to go green. Clichéd as it may sound; it is our responsibility to ensure that planet earth continues to remain habitable for our future generations. As such, the above-mentioned entrepreneurs, institutions, and companies should be commended for their efforts to make the world a better place to live in. While it is essential to appreciate their efforts, the least we can do is support their initiatives by using their eco-friendly inventions in the best way we can..