The student innovators at IIT-KGP asked to go green

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As the world gears up to celebrate Earth Day on April 22 and mark the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970 IIT Kharagpur has already taken steps to ensure that all the technical innovations by its wannabe student entrepreneurs champions the cause of protection of environment.
 
The students have been asked to design their innovation in a way that it goes green right from the stage of sourcing for material to delivering finished products and services to end users.  
 
And to send this message among the students Rajendra Mishra School of Engineering Entrepreneurship, IIT Kharagpur in association with FICCI Quality Forum, New Delhi, organised a symposium on ‘Engineering green innovation and entrepreneurship towards a sustainable world’ on March 8 and March 9, 2017.
 
Over 100 student innovators from IIT Kharagpur and from other engineering colleges across Bengal participated in a workshop designed to enable students to understand ‘Green Business’ and ‘Green Entrepreneurship’ and educate them on use methodologies for identifying elements/criteria to determine which kind of activities should qualify as Green Entrepreneurship.
 
The workshop also broke myths around technologies claiming to be eco friendly and how students should ensure that in every stage their innovation should keep these lapses in mind. “We all feel that going digital leads to greener environment as it helps us go paperless. What we fail to realize is that the technology used for digital transactions use several rare earth-elements, which comes from mining and there-by eating up the natural resources,” pointed out Partha Pratim Das, Head of the department of Rajendra Mishra School of Engineering Entrepreneurship and a faculty member of computer science and engineering. “We want our students to deliver a promise for tomorrow’s view of green innovation and entrepreneurship for a more sustainable world,” added Prof. Das who is also the professor-in-charge, IIT Kharagpur Research Park, Kolkata, and Joint Principal Investigator, National Digital Library Project, Indian Institute of Technology.
Explaining what the institute wants their student innovators to do Prof. Bhaskar Bhowmick of
Rajendra Mishra School of Engineering Entrepreneurship said, “In Indian context our students have to focus on three areas while designing new technology – usage of renewable energy, going for environment friendly materials, including usage of recycled waste and ensuring the whole process – right from sourcing of material to production to reaching out to the end user – should have minimum or no carbon footprint.”
 
“Our overall objective is to develop a perspective on the role of Green Entrepreneurship in transforming current Production and Consumption Systems for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) especially developing responsible consumption and production habit among our innovators,” Prof. Bhowmick added.
 
From now on Rajendra Mishra School of Engineering Entrepreneurship would be asking its students to ensure if their green innovation is green enough and whether it can sail through several levels of value chain. “We use inverter air conditioners to save electricity but insist on a copper compressor, without realizing that copper is sourced through mining. We talk about developing technology to control various gadgets through smart phones but forget that smart phones cause radiation. We want our student innovators to take holistic green approach while developing a technology. We know it will not happen in a day. But we want them to inculcate this habit of thinking green across all stages,” explained Prof. Bhowmick.  
 
Apart from the faculty members of IIT-KGP industry experts were brought in to help students see beyond solar energy and bio fuel while thinking of green technology innovation. Ms. Radha Basu, CEO and Founder, iMerit and Co-Founder, Anudip Foundation and and Mr. Dipak Basu, Founder, Anudip Foundation jointly delivered a talk on the merit of co-opting models on enterprise creation with for-profit/not-for-profit activities as a green initiative to Social Entrepreneurship. Mr. Sutanu Ghosh, President, BCC&I enlightened the students about industry application in the area towards the sustainable world. There were other eminent domain experts who focused on the various areas of designing green technology.
 
And in order to ensure the students start green thinking they were asked to design a green ambulance ensuring minimum carbon footprint.
 
Contributed by Mou Chakraborty