Published: 11th June 2019
This LPU professor has created an eco-friendly paint using litchi extracts. Here's why it's awesome
You now have green paint and primers from litchi peel and seeds. Sounds exciting right? We spoke to the professor who invented it to find out more
It has been proven several times that synthetic paints which are currently being used for industrial purposes are toxic to our health as well the environment. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a 20 per cent to 40 per cent increase in the risk of certain types of cancer due to these synthetic paints.
To address this issue, a professor at the Lovely Professional University (LPU) in Punjab has come up with a range of eco-friendly paints and primers which are 100 per cent natural. "In today’s time, all the paints are synthetic which contain VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) and lead and can cause serious illnesses like asthma, mesothelioma, cancer and various skin diseases. Also, they are very harmful to the Environment. This led me to think of a natural alternative which is harmless to the environment and the people. Also, coming from Dehradun, which is the largest litchi producer, the waste generated from litchi intrigued me. The peel of litchi and the seed are strewn everywhere, particularly in Uttarakhand. Not only does this solution gives us natural paints, but it also solves the issue of waste," says Dwarika Prasade, a professor in the School of Chemical Engineering and Physical Science at LPU.
Eco-friendly paint: These green paints or natural paints will have a 15 to 20 per cent cheaper MRP than the currently available chemical-based paints
Inhaling the smell of these paints can also lead to asthma, mesothelioma, lung and bladder cancer and skin diseases. Not just these, but Volatile Organic Compound (VOC), Lead, etc. present in the synthetic paints affect air quality and increases the formation of smog and the by-products and waste of the synthetic chemical industry are detrimental to our surroundings, leaving an immense carbon footprint.
The professor explained to us that the extracts from the peel and seeds of Litchi chinensis are dried under the sun and powdered and is then finally processed to obtain green paint. The entire process of creating paints can take about 15-18 days. These green paints and primers are inexpensive, sustainable and environment-friendly. "These green paints or natural paints will have a 15 to 20 per cent cheaper MRP than the currently available chemical-based paints in the market," states Dwarika.
When asked about the benefits of using Litchi chinensis, he explains, "As a sole ingredient for paint and primers, the first benefit is that it is 100 per cent eco-friendly. Secondly, both the solid as well as the solvent part of the paint can be produced from the plant extract. Also, Litchi is one of the most commonly consumed fruits in every Indian household, therefore, its wastes — peels and seeds are available in abundance."
The university has already filed a patent for these paints and primers. But, the professor exclaims that it may take a long time to finally receive it. "It may take up to five years or more," he adds. Rajesh Haldhar, who is pursuing a PhD in Chemistry at LPU, also helped him with the project.
As far as their future plans go, Dwarika says they are currently focusing on the patent and once they receive it the green paints proposal will be shared with the authorities for usage in commercial purposes.