The National Sugar Institute in Kanpur has produced another value-added product from the waste of the sugar industry.
Shalini Kumari, senior research fellow, working under the guidance of Professor Narendra Mohan and Dr Vishnu Prabhakar Srivastava, has developed technique for producing ‘Nano Silica Particles’ from fly ash of the boilers in sugar factories.
Nano Silica Particles have wide applications in paints, lithium batteries, as adsorbent in pollution treatment, in biotechnology and bio-medical application and as Nano fertilizer for crop improvement.
“This fly ash at present is generally used for land fill and considered as source of pollution too. Looking to the silica content in fly ash from boilers which use bagasse as fuel in sugar factories. We have been working on this project for last two years and now got the breakthrough in developing the low-cost technology”, said Director, National Sugar Institute.
Looking to the market price of Nano Silica Particles as Rs 700-1000 per kg, a cheaper option shall be available from sugar factories now.
Explaining the technology, Shalini said, “There are multiple stages of acid, alkali and heat treatments and the intermediate product of sodium silicate was then treated with a surfactant and butanol to get the final product. It took time to standardize the process parameters, particularly, temperature, dosage of various chemicals and pH so as to get the highest possible yield of about 80-85 per cent of Nano Silica Particles from ash.”
To confirm the product, we have carried out structural analysis of the product using, said Dr Vishnu Prabhakar Srivastava.
Looking at the quantity of bagasse used as fuel, the quantity of such ash may be as high as 1.0-1.5 million metric tonnes per annum, he added.
He said that we are in the process of filing a patent for the technology developed and will also present an overview of the technology during the forthcoming Annual Convention of The Sugar Technologists Association of India to be held on July 28-29 at Goa.