India’s Technology Development Board (TDB) has pledged $1.4 million to support development of technology for bast fiber processing of industrial hemp, flax, nettle and other plants.
TDB, a part of the Ministry of Science and Technology, signed a deal with M/s Sahi Fab Private Limited, New Delhi, an apparel maker and fur processor, to advance solutions for the production and commercialization of stem material “agricultural waste.”
The agency said Indian companies with fiber processing solutions have been invited to apply for funds from the total $2 million project.
“Agricultural waste has previously gone untapped owing to a lack of technology,” said Rajesh Kumar Pathak, TDB secretary. “Several start-ups are pushing into new industries and, as a result, require financial aid to succeed.”
TBD promotes the development and commercialization of Indian technology and encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. The agency provides equity financing, loans and grants to support the development of advanced solutions in the healthcare, agriculture, energy, and environmental sectors. It also supports technology transfer and collaboration between Indian and foreign entities.
Tapping into ‘waste’
Sahi Fab said it has devised a three-step production process for industrial hemp that employs decortication technology developed by the company, wet processing through high-temperature, high-pressure equipment, and further treatment with alkali and enzymes.
TDB said the production of stems from fibrous plants can not only contribute to the circular economy by capturing sustainable and environmentally friendly fiber, but could also increase farmers’ revenue by up to seven-fold.