GolDN: IIT Bombay Develops Equipment for Plastic Waste Recycling
Researchers at IIT Bombay have developed an instrument named GolDN for mechanically recycling waste plastic polymers through melt-mixing. This indigenous single screw extruder can manufacture composites from thermoplastic waste that can be molded into materials like paver blocks, tiles and bricks.
Limitations of Commercially Available Equipment
Commercially available melt-mixing equipment is unsuitable for recycling waste polymers containing contaminants. Their barrel and screw systems lack robustness. GolDN overcomes these limitations via customized design.
Key Features of the Extruder
GolDN facilitates efficient continuous melt-mixing of waste thermoplastics and inorganic fillers under lab conditions replicating real-world recycling.
Parameters like compression ratio and clearance depth have been optimized for mixing performance. Robust fabrication allows handling waste polymer containing contaminants.
The researchers have also developed supporting equipment like a thermogravimetric analyzer for testing the composites produced by GolDN. Its large 200g sample size incorporates material heterogeneity.
Pilot Plant Facility
A pilot-scale recycling plant with GolDN extruder as central apparatus has been built. Additional capabilities like shredding, pre-heating and conveying allow complete waste plastic to products conversion.
Commercialization and Impact Potential
Developed with DST support, this technology is ready for commercial use. Indigenous fabrication ensures costs are low, enabling affordable lab-scale polymer waste recycling research.
If scaled up, the equipment can aid the plastics industry and urban local bodies in effective recycling of plastic waste collected. This addresses both environmental pollution and resource circularity for plastics.
Significance of This Technology
- Annually nearly 68.6 million tonnes of plastic will end up polluting nature, accelerating environmental harm
- Countries like India, China, Indonesia are mismanaging over 50% of global plastic wastes face massive pollution
- Nearly 98.6% of plastic waste generated in India is mismanaged as per Earth Action report
- Despite increasing recycling capacity, global plastic pollution could triple by 2040 under current high production scenarios
Category: Science & Technology Current Affairs