From making missiles to biodegradable carry bags

Little had 46-year-old K. Veera Brahmam realised that when he joined the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO)’s Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) in Kanchanbagh in the early 2000s, he will not only be working on Agni and other missiles, but also have the opportunity to come out with game-changing biodegradable carry bags within three months to a year!

“Plastic pollution is the bane for not only our country but the entire world. We have been working on various polymers for missile technology, and chanced upon the idea of making something as durable as plastic which will not affect nature, by using corn starch and polybutylene-adipate-terephthalate. It got quick approvals from our director M.R.M. Babu and and DRDO chairman G. Satheesh Reddy,” he said on Wednesday.

In less than two years and during the pandemic, the ASL team of scientists worked on the product and collaborated with city based ‘ecolastic products’ firm for testing and standardisation in its facility. The product was then offered to the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam seven months ago as carry bags for ‘prasadam’ last year.

Having gained public approval, the DRDO lab has decided to pass over the technology ‘free of cost’ to 20 firms from across the country from the hands of Dr. Reddy at the ASL to begin with. “We have 45 more firms waiting in the pipeline and after assessing their credentials, we will hand over the technology to them too. We will support the industries and ensure quality is maintained as the DRDO reputation will be on the line,” informed ASL director Mr. Babu.

“If plastic covers are for single use and take 300-400 years for bacterial degradation, why should we use them? The idea germinated from this thought. We are also working on the technology to make bio-degradable plastic bottles, milk sachets and wrappings for parcels and industrial use”, said Mr. Brahmam, a post-graduate in physics and PhD holder from the Sri Venkaeswara University, Tirupati.

Later, Dr.Satheesh Reddy handed over the technology transfer to the chosen firms from across the country, including one from Arunachal Pradesh. Top defence scientists like Agni programme director G. Rama Guru and ASL associate director P.V.G. Brahmanandam were among those present.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2022 8:13:50 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/from-making-missiles-to-biodegradable-carry-bags/article65426650.ece