Image © Rudra Environmental Solutions
Rudra Environmental Solutions was established in Pune, India in 2009 by Dr. Medha Tadpatrikar and Shirish Phadtare. They have been involved in research of converting waste plastic into fuel technology.
“The idea was simple if water turns to ice and again back to water, can we do exactly same with plastic. Can we turn plastic back to hydrocarbons, so we started experimenting.” says Tadpatrikar.
DesignNuance Staff: Could you tell us about the development process? The initial product you made and how it was further developed?
Dr. Medha Tadpatrikar: A trip to wildlife sanctuary in 2009 was the basis of our innovation. One day while visiting we were forbidden to go in one particular area, when we inquired the reason, we were told that a deer has been killed. Afterwards we found the reason for that death and it was a few plastic bags in the stomach of the deer. We were appalled like anyone would, but did not give it much thought. Over the next few months anytime we used to speak about this trip Shirish and myself used to say someone should do something about this, how come such things are allowed to happen? We were like most people who see the problem, grumble, complain and don’t do anything about that problem. I guess this indifference of ours was the reason we decided to do something
So we started experimenting. but had no idea what to do, Our Eureka moment came when we saw piece of ice melting. The idea was simple if water turns to ice and again back to water, can we do exactly same with plastic. Can we turn plastic back to hydrocarbons, so we started experimenting
The first place was in the kitchen. We heated it in a pan but it got stuck. Then we had this crazy idea to put it in a pressure cooker. So that’s what we did. But due to pressure build up, we blew a few cookers.
But after many trials we started to get the results. The gas that came out had a smell and it also burned. Then we got some oil like substance on top of water. After testing those we realised we are on to recovering usable fuel from waste plastic.
After kitchen experiments, we built our first machine where we manage to turn the waste plastic to fuel.
The process is simple he machine effectively reverses the plastic production process; where the Themo Catalytic Depolymerisation process cracks the long chains of polymer to produce useable fuel.
DesignNuance Staff: Also, since there are very few initiatives like this in the country, so did you face any issues in the beginning?
Dr. Medha Tadpatrikar: Yes we did , first it was leaning about processes, chemical reactions etc, we learned a lot while doing the experiments.
Second was money, we had to put all our savings and earnings in to development and research. we had no guarantee that this would work. Still, we had passion and determination to see what can happen. We were ready for failure from day one, never give up attitude of Shirish and myself is one of the reasons why we have reached this stage