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Furniture from rice husk

After rice grains are separated to be polished, what remains behind is the lighter, larger residue—rice husk. Harshit Garg, Shivendra Gautam, Priyank Sangani and Rajat Maheshwari, four students of IIT-Kharagpur have developed a way to turn this light yellow residue into beautiful, sturdy furniture! Briefly explaining the process, Garg said, "We pour adhesive and chemical in the rice husk to produce a sheet, which can be used to produce the body of ball pens, kitchenware and pitch boards." The team was competing for the Hult Prize, a national competition among students to find solutions for social problems like food security, energy, environment etc. Competing with over 50 teams and beating five other shortlisted teams, Team Mettle, as the students call themselves, became the champions of the Hult Prize 2019 in October.

Leveraging the fact India leads in paddy production, the team explored the use of rice husk to make everyday utility materials like pens, furniture, pitch board and kitchenware. While furniture was a product that was explored at a later stage during their preparation for the Hult Prize, the team spent a long time discussing other product options like packaging material and kitchenware.

This idea could not only breathe life into wasted risk husk but once produced on a large scale, could also help reduce plastic consumption. Their team is now in the process of building a prototype and has two third-year students from the chemical engineering department providing technical support.


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