IIT Roorkee Shines in DRDO’s national-level innovation challenge “Dare to Dream 2.0”, initiated in the memory of former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

Prof. Sudipta Sarkar has been adjudged Winner in Dare to Dream 2.0 under the problem domain of "Eco-friendly Explosive Waste Management’”. Log 9 Materials, the first startup incubated by TIDES at IIT Roorkee, has won the Second prize under “Materials & Technologies for Fire Suppression/ Protection”.

Roorkee: Prof. Sudipta Sarkar and Log9 Materials, a startup incubated at IIT Roorkee – have been adjudged winners in their respective domains in the prestigious “Dare to Dream 2.0” innovation contest announced by Hon’ble Prime Minister and initiated by Hon’ble Defence Minister in memory of the former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.


Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) conducted the contest to identify novel ideas and technologies with the potential of future adoption for the Indian defence and aerospace needs and realize the goal of “Atma Nirbhar Bharat” as envisioned by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. The contest comprised five verticals and was open to Indian citizens in “individual” and “startup” categories. It aims to create an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Startups and Individual innovators and engaging them to carry out R&D development with potential for future adoption. There was one winner declared for each vertical of the Dare to Dream 2.0 Innovation contest.


Prof. Sudipta Sarkar participated in the problem domain “Eco-friendly Explosive Waste Management” and his entry entitled “Hybrid Anaerobic Reactor and Microbial Fuel Cell for Enhanced Biodegradation and Energy Harvesting from Wastewater containing TNT – HAnMFC” was adjudged the winner. Prof. Sarkar proposed a novel process to remediate waste and wastewater containing TNT using innocuous and inexpensive chemicals and microbes, requiring minimal or no net energy. TNT is an abundantly used explosive in the Indian defence domain. Being a relatively stable compound, TNT is tough to degrade. Besides a cash prize of Rs. 5 Lakhs, he is offered up to 90% of grant-in-aid funding to further develop the technology up to commercialization. Prof. Sarkar is already working to establish a startup to achieve this goal.


Prof. Sarkar specializes in Environmental Engineering. His areas of interest include developing novel processes and materials for industrial and municipal water and wastewater treatment, Solid Waste Management, and environmental nanotechnology.


Log 9 Materials Sci Pvt Ltd. is the first startup incubated by TIDES at IIT Roorkee. It has won the Second Prize in the “Dare 2 Dream 2.0″ innovation contest in the startup category. Log 9 participated in the category “Materials & Technologies for Fire Suppression/Protection” with its innovation entitled “Novel and Efficient Aluminium Crosslinked Graphene Oxide for Fire Protection in Defence Applications”. Log 9 came up with a simple and efficient material, i.e., Aluminum crosslinked Graphene Oxide as a fire-retardant material for defence applications such as devices operating at high temperature, proximity suits, fire survival blankets, military equipment and many others. Also, it resists combustion in ambient air and improves the thermal stability of the product. For the innovative solution, Log 9 won second prize in the domain, including Rs. 8 lakhs. Their work is motivated to lower down the fire hazards and resultant damages to personnel and equipment. Several events have underscored the limitations of conventional fire-retardant coatings and materials, highlighting the urgent need for improvement in the domain.


Log 9 Materials was founded in 2015 at IIT Roorkee by Akshay Singhal, Kartik Hajela and Pankaj Sharma. IIT Roorkee supported the startup with the required infrastructure, mentorship and initial seed funding. The startup also received Series-A funding from Sequoia. Akshay and Kartik studied at IIT Roorkee and graduated from Materials Engineering and Chemical Engineering, respectively. Akshay went to complete his PhD in Nanotechnology from IIT Roorkee while Kartik worked briefly at ITC. Pankaj is a seasoned deep tech entrepreneur in nanotechnology and has founded two startups in the past.


Prof. Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee, congratulated Prof. Sarkar and Log9 and said: “I am delighted with this accomplishment of Prof. Sudipta Sarkar and the Log9 team. Their success vividly illustrates the pursuit of excellence by IIT Roorkee”.


Prof. Sudipta Sarkar, after being adjudged winner in the problem domain “Eco-friendly Explosive Waste Management” in the “Dare to Dream 2.0” innovation contest, said, “I feel honoured and humbled to be adjudged winner in the contest. I am very grateful to DRDO for the honour. I am very thankful to my students for their unending support and the Institute for providing an environment conducive to free and innovative thinking and growth. Support from the Civil Engineering Department has been instrumental to the endeavour. I would continue to strive to serve the institution and my nation through my work”.


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