NITK inks MoU with NJB to develop geo-cell products from Jute

Mangaluru: The National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Jute Board (NJB), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, to develop technology to make Geo-Cell products from jute and standardize them for various engineering applications.
The commercially available polymer-based geo-cells are costly and not readily available in rural areas and small towns. This navigates towards inventing an eco- friendly, cost-effective cellular confinement product that satisfies engineering strength requirements. Jute is a natural material that is plentifully available in India.
Almost 85% of the world’s jute cultivation is concentrated in the Ganges Delta. It is high time that India explores its diverse applications and widens its usage in the form of different products. The project by NITK, Surathkal, proposes a very affordable and eco-friendly method of ground improvement using jute in the form of cells.
The NJB has been entrusted with the implementation of multiple activities and projects by the Ministry of Textiles to modernize, technologically upgrade, improve productivity, develop diversified jute products, and develop human resources for the jute sector. In this context, NJB is joining hands with one of the premier technical institutes of national importance, NITK, Surathkal to develop the technology for a new product from Jute termed ‘Jute Geo-Cells.’
This work has been entrusted to NITK, Surathkal, in the form of a research project worth Rs 48 lakh with Sreevalsa Kolathayar as the principal investigator, Raviraj HM, and Somasekhara Rao T as the co-principal investigators, and A U Ravishankar, STA PMGSY as advisor. KSCSTE- Centre for Water Resource Development and Management (CWRDM) and Kerala Highway Research Institute (KHRI) are collaborating agencies for this project, and Birla Jute Mill (A unit of Birla Corporation Limited) is the industry partner.
Recently, Dr Mahadeb Datta, deputy director, NJB, visited Mangaluru and NITK, Surathkal campus for fast-tracking of the project. He also delivered an expert lecture on civil engineering applications of Jute Geotextiles, which more than 200 researchers and students attended. Datta said that the jute geo-cell proposed by NITK is one of its kind and will find extensive applications and massive usage once the technology is developed and transferred to the industry. Sreevalsa added that the wide use of jute for infrastructure projects would pave the way for achieving UN sustainable development goals, particularly SDG #9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) and SDG #11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).