Is This the End of Plastic Pollution? Trash Talk with an Eco-preneur

Amidst plastic pollution and energy depletion, can passion fuel change? A new breed of entrepreneurs emerges, offering innovative solutions to these pressing issues. Discover Eco-Entrepreneur Stuti Sidhu's journey from waste to wealth.

Swati Dayal
New Update

"If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life" 

In today's story, we'll explore how this famous saying resonates with the new generation entrepreneur we are about to meet, who, admitting she's good at nothing else, has turned her passion into her profession.

As global concern mounts over plastic pollution and the depletion of non-renewable resources, a new wave of startups are emerging with sustainable business ideas, offering solutions to these longstanding issues.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board, India's plastic waste generation has surged from 1,568,714 tonnes in 2016-17 to 4,126,997 tonnes in 2020-21, marking a 22.8% increase over three years.

Among these innovative ventures is the brainchild of Ms. Stuti Sidhu, Founder cum CEO, I-Gro Energies. With sustainability and innovation at the forefront, Ms. Sidhu's iGro Energies transforms waste plastic into a potent source of energy. Recently honored with the prestigious Spirit of Manufacturing Award in the Women Entrepreneur category, Stuti's journey shows resilience and ingenuity. She has harnessed the power of plastic to not only mitigate environmental degradation but also propel India towards a greener, more sustainable future.

TICE News engaged in a conversation with Ms. Stuti to get deeper into her transformative work and understand how she navigates challenges to pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.

Empowering the Future: Transforming Plastic into Power

iGro Energies plays a vital role in waste plastic management by converting it into diesel fuel. 

"We turn waste plastic into diesel fuel," she explains, emphasizing the critical importance of this process in tackling the scourge of plastic pollution. With clarity and passion, Ms. Stuti outlines the innovative methodology behind iGro's operations, stating, "We put waste plastic into a reactor, take it to 400 degrees Celsius, put in some catalyst, and it turns into fuel oil and some gases."

iGro doesn't just address the issue of waste plastic; it also tackles the pressing problem of fuel depletion. These are two of the most urgent challenges the world faces today.

From Engineer to Entrepreneur: The Journey Unfolds

Reflecting on her entrepreneurial journey, Ms. Stuti traces her path from mechanical engineer to pioneering businesswoman.

"There was nothing else that I was good at," she admits candidly. Her early ventures in hydrogen technology paved the way for her foray into plastic waste management, fueled by a desire to find cost-effective solutions for reducing hydrogen. "Plastic pyrolysis," she declares, "is the most efficient, the most cheapest way to convert hydrogen."

Navigating Challenges: Breaking Barriers in a Male-Dominated Industry

Ms. Stuti's journey has been marked by formidable challenges, particularly in navigating the male-dominated landscape of manufacturing.

"It was very hard to set up my own factory, work with laborers, work with contractors," she recalls. Yet, fueled by determination and resilience, she persevered, carving a path for herself in uncharted territory.

Government Support and the Road Ahead: Nurturing Innovation

Acknowledging the crucial role of government support in fostering entrepreneurship, Ms. Stuti highlights the significance of initiatives like Startup India.

"Any kind of funding, specifically if it comes from the government, is very important," she asserts, underscoring the pivotal role such support plays in nurturing innovation and driving economic growth.

Established on January 15, 2020, in New Delhi, I-Gro Energy Private Limited. has been a trailblazer in patented fuel cell technologies. In 2020, it made history by becoming one of the first entities in India to assemble entirely indigenous fuel cells. 

Two years later, in January 2022, after rigorous research, I-Gro Energy initiated its maiden pilot project to pyrolyze plastic, yielding valuable light diesel oil and hydrogen. The project, located in Sikandrabad Industrial area, Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh, processes 2000 kgs of plastic daily, yielding 900 kgs of light diesel oil and 20 kgs of hydrogen.

Scaling up on January 20, 2023, the facility now handles 12,000 kgs of plastic daily, producing 5400 kg of light diesel oil and 120 kgs of hydrogen. The light diesel oil is affordably supplied to local farmers for their agricultural needs. Additionally, I-Gro recycles rubber, processing 10,000 kgs daily, producing rubber powder for diverse industrial applications.

I-Gro also has plans to expand into lithium-ion battery recycling, furthering its green innovation journey.

Empowering Future Entrepreneurs: A Message of Resilience

As the interview draws to a close, Ms. Stuti offers words of encouragement to aspiring female entrepreneurs.

"There are obviously going to be a lot of problems, a lot of roadblocks," she acknowledges. Yet, she urges them to persevere, emphasizing that success ultimately lies within themselves.

Ms. Stuti's transformative work with iGro Energies is an inspiration for many budding entrereneurs in the quest for sustainability. As she continues to pioneer innovative solutions and empower future generations of entrepreneurs, her legacy of resilience and ingenuity will undoubtedly shape the landscape of sustainable development for years to come.

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