Jamshedpur: Breath Applied Science Pvt. Ltd., a team from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), emerged as the winner of the fourth edition of ‘Tata Steel MaterialNEXT’ on May 11, 2023. The finale was held in Jamshedpur, and the winning team presented their solution, ‘Integrated technologies for the sustainable and economical production of Methanol from CO2’. The team members, Rakshith Raghavan Belur, Shan K R, and Haritha R Nath, were mentored by Prof. Sebastian Peter, and were awarded a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh.
The first runner-up position was secured by team ‘High Energy Zone’ of the TIFR Hyderabad, which presented the solution, ‘Development of high-performance rechargeable Zinc-air batteries’. The team members, Pallavi Thakur and Subhra Patttanayak, were mentored by Prof. T. N. Narayanan and received a cash prize of Rs 2.5 lakh.
Team ‘Interface Icon’ of NIT Rourkela and Team ‘Graphecon Materials’ of IIT Guwahati jointly bagged the 2nd runners-up position. They demonstrated the solutions ‘Hybrid Composites for Hydrogen storage tank’ and ‘Sustainable durable geopolymer coating through homogeneous dispersion of Graphene’, respectively. Team Interface Icon, which included Satyaroop Patnaik, BNVS Ganesh Gupta K, and Rajesh Prusty, was mentored by Prof. Bankim Chandra Ray. Team Graphecon Materials, which included R S Krishna and Neha Sethy, was mentored by Prof. Biranchi Panda. The two teams received a cash prize of Rs 1.0 lakh each.
MaterialNEXT 4.0 had a total of four themes under both the ‘Research’ and ‘Start-up’ tracks – Applied Nanomaterials, Novel Composites, Emerging Construction Materials, and Energy Materials. The ‘Research’ track was open to aspiring registered PG and PhD students and research scholars from academia/research centres across India. On the other hand, the ‘Start-up’ track allowed incubated startups in seed or Series A funding level to participate. The competition received registrations from more than 40 institutions across India, with 158 final active ideas.
The remaining four teams in the top eight won a cash prize of Rs 25,000 each for demonstrating their innovative solutions and ideas. The grand finale jury comprised of Prof. B L V Prasad (Director, CeNS-Bangalore), Prof. A M Kuthe (Professor, VNIT-Nagpur), Dr. Ramanuj Narayan (Director, IMMT-Bhubaneswar), Peeyush Gupta (VP, Group Strategic Procurement & Supply Chain, Tata Steel), and Vinay Vasant Mahashabde (Chief, Research & Development and Product Technology).
Peeyush Gupta, Vice President, Group Strategic Procurement & Supply Chain, Tata Steel, congratulated the winners and expressed his excitement about the response MaterialNEXT 4.0 received from the young innovators of the country. He further added that Tata Steel is committed to fostering a culture of open innovation and collaboration, and MaterialNEXT is an excellent platform to promote this spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.