Variety

‘Biopot’ — Invented by a school girl, nurtured by T Works

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on September 19, 2021

Biopress 4T developed by T Works that can produce 500 biodegradable nursery pots a day.

The 14-year-old’s idea of replacing plastic bags in nurseries with a biodegradable pot will be scaled up by the start-up incubator

What started as a small experiment by a 14-year-old girl has caught the attention of T Works, an electronic hardware start-up incubator, resulting in the development of a machine that can churn out 500 biodegradable pots for use in nurseries.

A Srija of Gadwal was quite upset about black plastic bags being used at the plantation drive at her school last year.

She went home, got some groundnut shells and prepared a dough with them to make a pot to keep the saplings.

Her work, presented in some exhibitions, caught the attention of Telangana State Innovation Council (TSIC), which in turn referred it to T Works.

“The key task before us was to build a machine, the best mix and the best temperature at which it should be baked in the mould.

“We helped her in structured experiments to find out the best combination,” Anand Rajagopalan, Director (Operations) of T Works, told BusinessLine.

“We zeroed in on three mixes and three temperatures. We built a robust machine that doesn’t require any maintenance.

Besides, the mould mounted in the machine (named Biopress 4T) can churn out lakhs of pots. And, the moulds can come in different shapes,” he said.

Open source tech

Not only will the biopot help civic bodies get rid of plastic bags at nurseries, it will nourish the saplings as the mix contains fertilising groundnut shells, tamarind seed powder and other proprietary material developed by Srija.

Now that a machine is ready to manufacture the pots, T Works has decided not to go for patenting the technology.

“We are going to make it open sourced to developers,” he said.

T Works, however, will help the girl seek a patent on the proprietary mix.

“We worked closely with Srija and her mentor Augustine to design and fabricate a machine capable of churning out biopots in large numbers. Their input was critical to designing a machine that can be used in a village setting, for example by self-help groups,” Sujai Karampuri, Chief Executive Officer of T Works, said.

The moulds, developed by Srija, could find a place in the Telangana government’s mass greenery programme – Telangana ku Haritaharam.

“We will aim at skilling the self-help group communities for large-scale production of pots,” Shanta Thoutam, Chief Innovation Officer, Government of Telangana, said.

Published on September 18, 2021

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