A product developed under the T Works Rural Innovation Development Program is ready for the market.
T Works demonstrated the mass production capability of the Biopress, the custom-built machine to manufacture biodegradable pots, called biopots, invented by Gadwal innovator A. Srija. The biopot, made from a unique dough that uses groundnut shells, is an alternative to the black plastic bags used in nurseries for growling saplings. The Biopress (version ‘4T’), has been designed and developed by T Works to scale up Srija’s innovative biopot, which has received recognition and awards from several quarters for its employment and environmental sustainability potential, including from the Telangana State Innovation Council (TSIC) and CSIR.
Says Sujai Karampuri, CEO T Works – "Srija is one of the first innovators under our Rural Innovation Development Program. Under the program, we take recognised and vetted innovations to market. In Srija’s case, we worked closely with her and her mentor, Mr. Augustien, to design and fabricate a machine capable of churning out the 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. This creates employment in rural areas and brings to life innovations by the locals themselves."
Making the biopot manually using steel glasses as moulds has inherent drawbacks. The shape, size, weight, and structural properties change beyond allowable limits from one piece to another. To overcome this, T Works helped Srija conduct research and experiments in a structured manner to identify the right ratios of ingredients for the dough and optimal shape for pots. T Works is also assisting Srija in patenting her unique biopot formulation.
"TSIC extended support to Srija, who we scouted for our Intinta Innovator 2020 edition. As the next step, we will leverage Telangana’s flagship initiative, ‘Telangana Ku Haritha Haram’ and other channels to roll the product into the market. We will also aim at skilling the SHG communities for large-scale production", said Dr Shanta Thoutam, Chief Innovation Officer, Government of Telangana.
One Biopress 4T machine is capable of producing 6000 biopots per month per shift. A set of a few machines deployed on-site can produce several tens of thousands. The modular design allows for swappable moulds for different sized planters. The Biopress design can also be modified if needed to produce up to 50,000 pots per month per machine in one shift.