Scientists from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) have developed an innovative way to convert keratin waste, mainly human hair, wool, poultry feathers into fertilizer and animal feeds.
The IICT has already patented the technology, which was developed by a team of IICT scientists led by Professor A B Pandit. The technology can easily convert waste into fertilizer and animal feed in an environment-friendly, energy-efficient way. This technology is almost three times more economical than the existing technologies, IICT said.
“The technology is easily scalable, environment-friendly and would make amino acid-rich liquid fertilizers more economical as compared to currently marketed products,” Professor Pandit said, who is also Vice Chancellor of the IICT.
The IICT team had used advanced oxidation for the conversion of the waste to marketable fertilizers and animal feed. “The key technology behind this involves pre-treatment followed by hydrolysis of keratin using a technique called Hydrodynamic Cavitation, which involves vaporization, bubble generation, and bubble implosion in a flowing liquid,” the IICT scientists claimed.
Presently, the chemicals and physical methods for such conversion are energy-intensive, chemically hazardous, and involve multiple steps resulting in a higher cost of the final product, said a senior officer of the Department of Science and Technology.
“As calculated by the team, with this technology, the cost of the product at a large-scale plant, processing inputs of 1-ton per, is up to 3 folds cheaper than the existing market product,” the Ministry said.
IICT has started implementing this technology at a large scale in collaboration with Revoltech Technologies Private Limited, Gujarat. This advancement in production will make the liquid biofertilizers, which costs one-third of the marketed product, available to farmers, the IICT said.