CSIR - CRRI Organises ‘One Week One Lab’ Campaign Highlights Waste to Wealth Initiatives

CSIR - CRRI (Central Road Research Institute) hosted a week-long celebration across four major cities - Delhi, Hyderabad, Odisha, and Shillong, during 16 July to 22 July, that showcased the technological breakthroughs and innovations of the CSIR (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research) laboratories across the country and highlighted the concept of Waste to Wealth by using by-products like steel slag, solid municipal waste, plastic waste, C&D waste, and Jarofix waste material in sustainable road construction.

CSIR - CRRI is dedicated to advancing the road and transport sector by innovating in the field. The nationwide theme-based event ‘One Week One Lab’ allows the institute to highlight its significant contributions in generating the latest information and knowledge, and in harnessing scientific innovations to create advanced processes and product technologies that bring substantial benefits to society.

Chief Guest Dr. Vijay Kumar Saraswat, Member Niti Aayog, and Chancellor, JNU, lauding the Research Institute for its initiatives, said, “The technologies and innovations by CSIR - CRRI are being developed to meet the ever-growing demand for more and more superior solutions. But we need to standardize the solutions and make them economical.”

CSIR - CRRI (Central Road Research Institute)

Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Science & Technology, while inaugurating the One Week One Lab (OWOL) programme in New Delhi, praised CSIR – CRRI for developing the revolutionary steel slag road technology, which facilitates large-scale utilization of waste steel slag from steel plants in road construction. The Minister informed that Gujarat became the first city in the country to have a processed steel slag (industrial waste) to build a road at Hazira in June 2022, as part of a joint-venture project involving CSIR- CRRI, the Union Ministry of Steel, government think-tank NITI Ayog, and ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel (AM/NS).

Steel slag is made of impurities melted from the ore during the steel-making process in steel plants. Roads with steel slag not only cost about 30% less than conventional paving, but are also more durable and resistant to the vagaries of weather. Such roads have been found to last ten years compared to three to four years for bitumen roads, significantly reducing maintenance costs. In Surat, the steel slag road has weathered the erosive saline marine environment, while in the cold, snowy, and torrential rain-prone toughest Himalayan terrain, the steel slag roads have demonstrated a longer lifespan.

“This innovative technology also addresses the problem of environmental degradation caused by waste steel slag and unsustainable mining and quarrying of natural aggregates. CRRI has developed several key technologies for the sustainable utilization of waste materials in road construction,” the Minister said. “India’s network of National Highways, at 1.45 lakh km, is now the second largest in the world after the United States, and it has increased by 59% in the past nine years under the government led by PM Modi. The construction of National Highways in the country grew to 1,029 km in January 2023 from 419 km in August 2022 to achieve this feat,” he informed.

CSIR - CRRI (Central Road Research Institute)

Over the last nine years, nearly 50,000 km of National Highways have been added, while the pace of construction has more than doubled from 12 to 29 km/day since 2014. In May this year, India achieved a milestone by laying 112.5 lane kilometers of bituminous concrete road within 100 hours.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) also utilized steel slag to construct a heavy-duty road in Arunachal Pradesh along the India-China border area. The steel slag material was provided by Tata Steel free of cost and transported from Jamshedpur to Arunachal Pradesh by Indian Railways free of charge. NHAI, India’s largest road-building agency has also successfully tested the Steel Slag Road technology on NH-66 (Mumbai-Goa highway).

Dr. Singh also interacted with students on a guided tour organized by CRRI and congratulated Dr. Manoranjan Parida, Director, CRRI, and Dr. Satish Pandey, Principal Scientist, Head of the Steel Slag Road Project, for the development of this technology. He strongly encouraged the institute to implement this technology for road construction across India.

Dr. Manoranjan Parida thanked the government for its support in encouraging the research programs being carried out by CRRI and expressed gratitude for the industry’s participation. “As per the theme Waste to Wealth of the campaign, we have focused on industrial waste, and on marginal & secondary materials in view of the growing demand for sustainable solutions,” he said.

Addressing industry stakeholders during the ‘One Week One Lab’ program Union Minister of State for Steel, Faggan Singh Kulaste emphasized on the significance of Steel Slag Road technology and how this novel approach can not only offer an efficient disposal method for steel slag but also open avenues for converting waste into a valuable resource. He said that the Steel Slag Road technology of CSIR-CRRI is playing an important role in realizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mission of ‘Waste to Wealth.’

CSIR - CRRI (Central Road Research Institute)

He informed that India is the second-largest steel-producing country in the world, and about 19 million tonnes of steel slag are generated in the country as solid waste, which is expected to increase to 60 million tonnes by the year 2030. (About 200 kg of steel slag is generated in one tonne of steel production).

The ‘One Week One Lab’ program with its focus on the theme ‘Waste to Wealth’ highlighted the role of recycling waste material for road construction and the application of different types of waste materials such as steel slag, solid municipal waste, plastic waste, C&D waste, and Jarofix waste material for road construction. The issues faced in the road sector for the utilization of waste material were also discussed by eminent speakers from varied backgrounds. Industry experts demonstrated their technological achievements, for example, Verma Industry showcased Rejupave Recycling Technology for Bituminous Pavement Recycling being used at a project (Rehabilitation of 4-lane NH-34) in Malda, West Bengal.

The session also stressed the need to implement C&D Rules, 2016, besides proper deconstruction practices to be adopted to increase the Recovery Rate and have C&D Waste processing units in all cities with waste output more than 100 t/day. Dr. Ambika Behl, Sr. Principal Scientist, CSIR-CRRI, spoke on constructing roads with plastic waste to increase the lifespan of roads, reduce environmental pollution, and generate employment for ragpickers. She also informed that CSIR-CRRI holds three patents on Waste Plastic Road Technology: Wet Process for PE Waste, Wet Process for Thermocole Waste, and Wet Process for PVC Waste.

The other experts gave presentations on the usage of Geosynthetics and held discussions on soil stabilization, Full Depth Reclamation (FDR), usage of geocells, and geostrips for slope protection.

The event saw participation by representatives from public transportation agencies, private companies, research institutions, government bodies, and non-profit organizations. They deliberated on improving infrastructure, reducing emissions, and enhancing the overall transportation experience for users.

CSIR - CRRI (Central Road Research Institute)

The industry-meet provided opportunities for networking and partnerships, exchange of ideas, resources, expertise and innovations in the transport sector. Participants discussed emerging trends and cutting-edge technologies that can enhance the efficiency, sustainability, and safety of transportation systems.

The Young-Researchers Conclave served as a forum for young and aspiring researchers to showcase their research on sustainable and eco-friendly materials for road and bridge construction, pavement engineering, geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, and Traffic and Transport Engineering, and engage in discussions with peers, industry experts, and seasoned academicians.

The Research Institute’s one-day workshop in Odisha was focused on how Road Asset Management, Safety, and Innovative Materials, are crucial for ensuring the sustainability and longevity of transportation infrastructure. The sessions highlighted Road Safety Audit by addressing potential hazards and minimizing risks, and making Indian roads safer. Stress was laid on innovative materials that improved performance, enhanced durability, reduced environmental impact, and led to cost savings in road construction.

The Hyderabad leg of the OWOL campaign focused on Next Generation Transport enabling AI and ML applications in road safety and infrastructure. Discussions were held on Innovative Pavement Materials and the application of steel slag in road construction. The last leg of the OWOL program, Mobility@NorthEast held in Shillong, discussed the unique challenges and opportunities associated with transportation in the region and policies that enhance connectivity, accessibility, and sustainability in the North-East.
NBM&CW, August 2023
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