Researchers develop sustainable paints using Litchi extracts

Indian researchers develop sustainable paints using litchi extracts

11:13 AM, 11th July 2019
Dwarika Prasade, professor at Department of Chemistry, Lovely Professional University.
Dwarika Prasade, professor at Department of Chemistry, Lovely Professional University.

PUNJAB, INDIA: Increasing use of synthetic paints has over the years become a cause for worry with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting a 20-40 percent increased risk of different types of cancer.

To address the toxicity issues associated with synthetic paints, a team of researchers at Lovely Professional University (LPU), led by Dwarika Prasade, professor at Department of Chemistry, has come up with 100% natural eco-friendly paints and primers. Making use of the extracts of Litchi, the team of researchers have filed a patent for the unique ‘green paint’.

In a bid to promote sustainability, the extracts from peel and seeds of Litchi chinensis have been used that are sun-dried, powdered and processed to produce the core component of the paint.

“Litchi extracts are the sole ingredient for paint and primers in our product which is 100% eco-friendly. The solid, as well as the solvent part of the paint, is produced from the plant extract,” said Prasade.

Rajesh Haldhar, who is pursuing a PhD in Chemistry at LPU, also helped him with the project, which has been going on for the last three years.

Prasade, who hails from Dehradun realised the need to use a large amount of litchi waste at the farms. Uttrakhand which is the largest producer of litchi has been battling the problem of its peels and seeds thrown all over the state. He thought of making use of the waste, as litchi releases natural colours. “At present, these paints are available in light brown colour. We are researching further to produce the green paints in different colours.”

Synthetic paints, said Prasade, has several harsh chemicals. “Strong chemicals such as zinc, turpentine, volatile organic compounds and additives that are used as fungicides, wetting agents, driers are the kinds of chemicals which are carcinogenic and pose environmental hazards too.” As compared to synthetic paint, the process to produce green paint developed by Prasade, takes long between 15-18 days. “Litchi is seasonal but it is produced at a very large scale. The waste material is available throughout the year. We are using the Soxhlet extraction method that transfers the partially soluble components of a solid to the liquid phase. Being a cost-effective method of extraction, this will make the cost of green paints 15%-20% lesser than the chemical-based paints in the market.”

The University has already filed a patent for the products. “It took us about three years to complete the research work and file a patent,” said Prasade. After receiving the patent, Prasade plans to share the proposal for commercial use. 

© Times of India

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