Technologies and products

Technologies and products developed/supported in bamboo sector by NECTAR.
National Mission on Bamboo Applications (NMBA) was the technology Mission established in 2004 for the development of the technologies for the bamboo sector right from the plantation sector to the post-harvest applications. As NMBA had a finite life, it was decided that in view of the substantial success and achievements which was brought about with the technology intervention, should not get dissipated. To reap the knowledge acquired in the bamboo sector in an institutional format, with the formation of NECTAR in 2012, NMBA was subsumed into it along with its assets, liabilities and activities.

The erstwhile NMBA was pioneer in supporting number of timber based plywood units in North east India which were closed after the orders of Hon’ble Supreme Court in 1995. With the technology intervention from the erstwhile NMBA, these units were revived to produce bamboo composite as an alternate material of wood.

  • Some important developments are as under: Broadly the bamboo related technologies and products are:
  • Composites & Wood Substitutes (bamboo boards, timber, flooring etc.)
  • Construction & Structural Applications
  • Food & Agro-Processing (bamboo shoot, pickle etc.)
  • Industrial Products – (plastic composites, sanitary napkins, charcoal, activated carbon, furniture, etc.)
  • Product Applications - Small Enterprise (stick, sliver, skewer, mat making, polyhouses etc.)
  • Adapting/adopting processing Machinery & Technology & scaling up of CFCs  Energy production (gasification)
Details on developed technologies/products:

1. Boards: NMBA/NECTAR has supported/demonstrated technologies for various types of bamboo boards like bamboo mat board, bamboo flattened board, bamboo veneer, bamboo jute composite. NMBA/NECTAR has developed bamboo mat based sandwich composite material and its products developed with association of R&D institutions. A resin-bonded Bamboo-Jute Composite has been developed which can be used to make even load bearing elements. Manufacturing units have been supported and located at Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Orissa. Manufacturing unit of Bamboo timber/strand board with support from NMBA/NECTAR has been setup at Mizoram and Maharashtra. Strand bamboo will be manufactured by crushing and hot pressing of bamboo strand fibers.

2. Bamboo stick: NMBA/NECTAR has supported community level manufacturing facilities including bamboo stick making, rolling, adding fragrance packaging/ branding packaging in various states of country. Before the intervention of NMBA, stick making activity was a home scale activity which made use of simple tools. Final product quality was crude, resulting in low market price. Use of machines not only increased the product quality and market price but also improved the production capacities.

3. Construction & Structural Applications: NMBA/NECTAR has supported in development of various categories of bamboo construction and promoted the use of bamboo towards the provisions of cost effective, durable, functional and easy to construct shelter to meet mass housing needs, and for structures under the public domain. No nail jointing technology in construction has been supported and demonstrated with German partner.

4. Shoot: NMBA/NECTAR developed Cluster level processing and packaging technology of bamboo shoots is standardized for 7 days and were tested microbiologically, chemically & organo- leptically. Technology developed is further implemented by a unit based which produces bamboo shoots in water in nylon pouches/canes. Introduction of process technologies has lead to the shift from home scale processing to use of machineries and automation which helps not only in increasing shelf life, improving the product quality and sales, provided employment but also increasing the market access/marketability of product under hygienic conditions. The process has opened vistas for bamboo shoot processing on commercial scale and units of canning and pouch packaging of bamboo shoots were set up at various location of north east.

5. Bamboo Charcoal - Low cost fuel: NMBA, with inputs from foreign experts has inducted and modified the brick kiln technology for carbonisation and has demonstrated it in Nagland, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, and West Bengal. Charcoal is produced by heating bamboo with a controlled supply of air. This is done in brick kilns and it can also be done by the pit method, in metal kilns and in drums.

6. Activated Carbon: Manufacturing unit of activated carbon with support from NMBA/NECTAR initiated at Assam and Tamilnadu. Bamboo charcoal can be further processed to make activated carbon. Bamboo charcoal can be activated at 900O C to 1050O C in rotary kiln by steam or carbon dioxide.

7. Gasifier: NMBA/NECTAR has developed gasifiers based on bamboo. Gasification is thermochemical conversion, carried out through the process of oxidation and reduction with limited air supply, which generates a combustible gas and as a by-product of activated charcoal. The producer gas obtained is used either for the thermal application or for mechanical/ electrical power generation. Being gaseous fuel, it gives better power control compared to solid fuel and provides smokeless combustion in an environmentally friendly operation.

8. Planting material: NMBA/NECTAR has supported the development of commercial protocols, having to produce the capacity quality of planting material in large quantities through the use of micro-propagation technology. Tissue cultured plants are free from diseases, have the uniform maturity, new varieties are available and exporting of plants is easy.

9. Bamboo multiplication–Flute Technology: NMBA has developed Flute technology also known as culm cutting or stem setting technique, enables fast regeneration of bamboo. Technology had been demonstrated by NMBA in association with Universities which supports plants of industrial suitable species. Technology produces profolic rooting which is necessary for survival in wastelands.

10. Colour code marking: NMBA in association with Govt. of Tripura has developed Maturity Marking for identifying the age of bamboo culm. The system uses placement of colored band painted on the culm in the year in which it emerges.

11. Furniture: NMBA/NECTAR supported the induction of processing machinery and finishing equipment, enabling the establishment of demonstrative and potentially replicable enterprise at Nagpur as a commercial unit to manufacture furniture. A range of elegant mechanized products has emerged, and are being marketed successfully.

12. Machinery: NMBA/NECTAR worked with machinery manufacturers to develop the range of efficient, sturdy and low-cost tooling and processing machinery, suited to Indian conditions and species, to reduce drudgery, downtime, improved productivity and minimized wastage. Machinery manufacturers associated with NMBA/NECTAR are situated in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, and Nagpur. Bamboo processing machinery is not only finding local markets but has been exported as well. Machinery for primary processing of bamboo was not available in India and imported Chinese machinery was not found suitable, as Chinese bamboo is much softer than Indian bamboo. The high silica content in outer layer of Indian Bamboo leads to faster wear out of cutting tools. Developments of machines are still in process, and manufacturers may be further supported in rigorous R&D activities to improve the machine and make them cost effective too.

13. Bamboo-based sanitary/hygiene products: NMBA/NECTAR in association with Research labs developed technology for utilizing bamboo fiber for nonwoven applications such as absorbent material for hygiene applications & wound dressings which also lead to the development of feminine hygiene products. These sanitary napkins are cheaper than commercially available products. The low-cost feminine hygiene products could improve the sanitary practices of rural women who otherwise are finding these kinds of products unaffordable. Pilot scale production plants are supported by NMBA/NECTAR at Maharashtra and Nagaland. And with more research, this can be another case for Make in India start-up.

14. Skill development technology package-NMBA/NECTAR in association with various institutes is developing technology packages and disseminating through training and induction of fixtures and primary processing machinery to ensure skill development at various locations. Training along with skill developments is also assisting in creating employment, improving livelihood, providing raw material to bigger units. NMBA/NECTAR has provided training for cluster-level processing of bamboo shoots, mat weaving, stick making and agarbatti making. Training provided at Nagaland, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Bihar and Tripura.

15. Role in BIS standards: NMBA/NECTAR has developed various BIS standards on different bamboo based applications.

16. Along with developing technologies, NMBA/NECTAR is also promoting bamboo sector by:
  • Supporting entrepreneurs by creating marketing linkages by extending marketing support and easier assured the availability of bamboo products by opening Bamboo Store and warehouse in Delhi.
  • Organizing skill development training and induction of fixtures and primary processing machinery which ensure supply of sustained and cost-effective raw material to units.
  • Creating linkages between bamboo growers and industry. These kinds of linkages enable quality & sustainable supply of raw material which in turn further increases the efficiency of units.
  • Disseminating corpus of information through various print publications in a different language to suit local needs.