Sustainable Alternatives in Energy, Environment & Healthcare for Science & Society

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The Bioprocess & Bioproduct Development Laboratory of the Department of Biotechnology, IIT Kharagpur along with the collaborators from USA, Australia, and Canada organized three days workshop under the Government of India’s Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) from 24th to 26th February 2023. The workshops were inaugurated by Prof. Amit Patra, Deputy Director, IIT Kharagpur in the august presence of Dr. Prachi Kaul, Director, Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute and Prof. Saswat Chakrabarti, Dean BTBS, IIT Kharagpur. The workshop saw a footfall of  more than 80 participants from both within and outside the horizons of IIT Kharagpur. Sustainable Alternatives in Energy, Environment, and Healthcare for the well-being of Science and Society was the theme of the three different workshops that spanned across the institute.

Pic : Inaugural session of the Indo-US SPARC Workshop (L-R) – Professor Warren D. Seider from the University of Pennsylvania was present online; Prof. Amit Patra, Deputy Director, IIT Kharagpur; Prof. N. R. Jana, HOD, Department of Biotechnology and Prof. Ramkrishna Sen, Department of Biotechnology (Convener) were present physically for the inauguration ceremony.

The three day long programme witnessed 20 speakers from 10 National and International universities and institutes accompanied by eminent industry leaders. On 24th February 2023, the first of the series INDO-US workshop was initiated on ‘Algaeneering for Global Energy and Climate Challenge’, jointly organized by the Bioprocess and Bioproduct Development Laboratory (BBDL) at IIT Kharagpur and the University of Pennsylvania, USA wherein academia researchers and industry experts across India and the US discussed the challenges, avenues, and technologies in research, development & innovations and techno-commercial assessment of renewable energy sectors.

Prof. Warren D. Seider, a world-renowned Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania delivered a plenary lecture. The other speakers at the workshop were Prof. K. K. Pant, Director, IIT Roorkee; Prof. Pinaki Bhattacharyya Emeritus Professor, Head, R&D, Chemical Engineering, Heritage Institute of Technology, Kolkata; Dr. Anindita Moitra, Chief General Manager, Indian Oil Corporation Limited; Dr. Sangeeta Srivastava, Executive Director, Godavari Biorefineries Ltd., Karnataka and Dr. Harshad R. Velankar, Chief Manager, Bioprocess Group, Hindustan Petroleum Green R & D Center, Bengaluru.

Pic : Inaugural session of the Indo-AUS SPARC Workshop (L-R): Prof. Saswat Chakraborty, Dean BTBS, IIT Kharagpur; Prof. D. N. Singh, IIT Bombay; Prof. N. R. Jana, HOD, Department of Biotechnology and Prof. Ramkrishna Sen (Convener) in the inauguration ceremony.

Under the aegis of SPARC, the second day of the INDO-AUSTRALIA workshop scheduled on 25th February 2023 focused on ‘Bioinspired Solutions for Natural & Built Environment: Science, Society & Wellbeing.’ The Australian collaborators under the SPARC program from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Curtin University; Prof. Abhijit Mukherjee and Dr. Navdeep Dhami joined hands with the experts from India, Prof. Devendra Narain Singh, D. L. Shah Chair Professor for Innovation, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Bombay; Prof. Brajadulal Chattopadhyay, Professor, Jadavpur University; Mr. Ramananda Adhikari, Deputy General Manager, Hindustan Copper Limited, Kolkata and Dr. Santanu Dasgupta, Senior Vice President, Reliance Technology Group, Reliance Industries Limited, Mumbai put forth a series of insightful talks.

Pic : Dr. Santanu Dasgupta, Senior Vice President, Reliance Technology Group, Reliance Industries Limited, Mumbai, India delivering his plenary talk online

A multidisciplinary concerted effort and partnership between educational institutions and industries was deemed to be instrumental in advancing research and development was highlighted in these workshops through the active participation of three PSUs including Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL) and two private industry market players Reliance and Godavari Biorefineries. These industry experts visited algal biomass production facility, a demo park created under the ambit of IMPRINT-IIA scheme (DST-SERB) between IIT Kharagpur and HPCL.

The INDO-CANADA workshop was held on 26th February 26, 2023 with the funding supports from Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) and SPARC on the theme ‘Green/Bio-polymers as renewable and sustainable alternatives to Petro-plastics: Energy-Environment-Healthcare Nexus’ with the active involvement of Prof. Sudip Kumar Rakshit, Canada Research Chair Professor, Bioenergy & Biorefining Research Institute, Lakehead University, Canada and Prof. Satinder Kaur Brar, James & Joanne Love Chair in Environmental Engineering, Lassonde School of Engineering, York University, Canada. Enthralling talks were also delivered by Dr. Santanu Dasgupta, Senior Vice President, Reliance Technology Group, Reliance Industries Limited, Mumbai, India; Prof. Prashant Mishra, Former Head, Department of Biochemical Engineering & Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi; Prof. Dipankar Chattopadhyay, Former Head, Department of Polymer Science & Technology, University of Calcutta, and Dr. Krishna Chattopadhyay, Jadavpur University and Anchor, DD Bangla, Doordarshan Kendra, Kolkata. Dr. Santanu Das Gupta gave virtual demonstration of their state-of-the-art biorefinery facility, highlighting the challenges and mentioning the need and scopes of Industrial-Academia collaborations.

Pic : Prof. Sen demonstrating the high-rate algal pond, one-of-its-kind facility to capture the industrial emissions and valorize towards biofuels and healthcare products.

Participants delivered oral presentations of their research work in the three day workshops where Prof. Sen’s doctoral students, Mr. Romit Mitra and Ms. Ankita Debnath presented their work on algal biorefinery and bio-cementation perspectives, respectively.

Pic : Group photo at the valedictory session on Day 3

Prof. Ramkrishna Sen, Department of Biotechnology, IIT Kharagpur & Convener of the workshops remarked, “All the workshops were well organized by the members of the Bioprocess & Bioproduct Development Laboratory, Department of Biotechnology, IIT Kharagpur which acknowledges Mr. Satyanarayana Reddy Battula, Dr. Chinmay Hazra and Dr. Debasree Kundu for their tremendous efforts and ground level coordination. Financial supports accorded by SPARC, an initiative of the Ministry of Education, GoI as well as the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) thus, paved the platform for developing an exciting research ecosystem through cohesive academic and research collaborations was well received by the overwhelming participants. “

Input By : Prof. Ramkrishna Sen, Department of Biotechnology, IIT Kharagpur

Edited By : Poulami Mondal, Digital & Creative Media Executive (Creative Writer)
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By Poulami Mondal

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