Industrial Consultancy & Sponsored Research (IC&SR) , IIT Madras

Acid- And Solvent- Free Mild Method for the Preparation of Nanocrystals of Chitin and Cellulose

Technology Category/Market

Category – Green Technology, Advanced materials

Applications –Waste treatment, biopolymer, manufacturing, Food processing

Industry –Nanotechnology ,Health care,, Environmental Engineering, Food industry

Market Chitin Market size was valued at $42.29 Billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $69.297 Billion in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 5.07% from 2021 to 2028. Cellulose market size was USD 219.53 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 305.08 billion by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.2% during the forecast period.


Problem Statement

  • In the process of isolating nanocrystals, only a small fraction of the biomass is transformed into value-added material while the massive quantity of effluent generated requires further purification
  • Hence, there is additional requirement of reducing the hazards to the environment, recovery of by products, cost, processing time (including dialysis), water, and energy


  • A process for producing biopolymer nanocrystals and carbon nanodots, the process comprising the steps of.
  1. Thermally treating biopolymer raw material to form fragments
  2. Treating the fragments to separate biopolymer nanocrystals and carbon nanodots.
  • The biopolymer raw material for chitin is prawn shell and for cellulose is cotton and pulp sheets.
  • Upon controlled treatment, the polymeric chains in the amorphous regions are fragmented leading to the formation of chitin/cellulose nanocrystals
  • After the thermal treatment the fragments are oxidized with 1% sodium hypochlorite or 5% hydrogen peroxide to remove the carbonized           organic matter, forming chitin nanocrystals cellulose and carbon nanorods exhibiting green fluroscence
  • Further, microscopic and spectroscopic analysis confirm the formation of chitin and cellulose. nanocrystals

Key Features/Value Proposition

Technical perspective

  • Applied to automotive engines operated with low volatility  fuels like diesel,  under HCCI mode so as to meet the very stringent NOX and PM emission mandates
  • The fuel injection pressure and the temperature of the anti chamber surface can be varied depending upon the volatility of the fuel by a control system for rapidly vaporizing the injected fuel.
  • The anti chamber can be also heated by utilizing engine exhaust gas or through the combined effects of exhaust gas, an electric heater and engine coolant

User perspective

  • The proposed external mixture preparation technique can be implemented by automobile manufacturers with minimal changes in the intake system
Questions about this Technology?

Contact for Licensing

Research Lab


Department of Chemistry

Intellectual Property

  • IITM IDF Ref. 1742

Technology Readiness Level


Technology Validated in Lab

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