Cartilage from crab shell, water filter from hair; Dr Lisa’s eco-friendly inventions never ends
Dr Lisa Sreejith, a professor of chemistry at National Institutes of Technology (NIT) in Kozhikode, is always concerned of the environment and her love for the nature led to several eco-friendly inventions. She researched on how to convert waste materials into useful objects and the results were four unbelievable inventions.
Cartilage from crab shell
When Lisa came to know that the material used to replace broken cartilages in the body was too expensive, she thought for an alternative for it. When bones are broken, steel rod is used for replacing it. She kept thinking of the issue and finally came up with the solution from a pile of stinking waste in beachside – crab shells. These shells contain a medicinal element called chitin which is ideal for healing injuries.
Thus a project was conducted by Dr Sudheesh under the guidance of Dr Lisa to develop cartilage from chitin. They could successfully convert chitin into nano chitin and develop cartilage from this. Dr Lisa and team have obtained a patent for this invention. They are planning to start industrial production of the cartilage made from crab shell.
Fuel from plastic
Soon after she found a solution to process crab waste, next trouble popped up. A vacant plot near her house had been turned into a garbage dumping ground. As burning plastic causes health and environmental hazards, Dr Lisa tried heating plastic in the absence of oxygen in lab and it could easily be converted into gas.
However, she noticed a remaining yellow solution only six months after the experiment. It had solidified and turned black. When she further experimented, they could extract petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas from the sediment. The remaining black coal was added in cement block to increase its strength. She is dreaming to develop a waste prosessing plant to eradicate plastic.
Though paper waste can be recycled, its quality is lost. Lisa found a solution for this by developing a new type of paper that enables to erase the ink on it. Pen ink and printed ink on this paper can be erased upto 20 times. Also the ink removed from the paper can be reused.
Hair as water filter
Another headache was the waste water flowing out of the lab. Meanwhile, barber association came up with a new issue. They brought hair waste from barber shops seeking a way to get rid of it safely. Yam was being cultivated at the campus then and so she suggested to mulch the flowerbed with hair.
After a few days, she noticed clean water running through the area where hair was used for mulching. In further researches, it was found out that hair is good filter that can sieve almost 99 percent of waste in water. But it is not sure whether people would be willing to accept water filtered using hair. The team will apply for patent in no time.
Dr Lisa is fully aware of the chemicals in processed food items and other daily use products. So she never buys food items and bakery products from outside. Her husband Sreejith, an associate professor of chemistry in Malabar Christian College, and their children Bhavana and Vijay also support Dr Lisa in her nature-friendly lifestyle.