Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan

Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan is former Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Director General (DG) of Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission. He is currently working as a Scientific Advisor of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), Ministry of Jute and Textiles, Bangladesh. He completed his PhD in Polymer & Radiation Chemistry in 1990. He has conducted research in several promising areas of nanotechnology, materials science, biodegradable polymers, biomedical science, applied science etc. He was a (German Academic Exchange Program (DAAD) and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) Fellow of Germany, JSPS and MIF fellow of Japan, USA (Michigan State University) as a visiting scientist, IEAE Fellow at Australia.

His name was published Who’s Who in the World 1998. He is also selected as a Fellow of IUPAC. He has around 750 publications in international journals, including 20 book chapters. He supervised more than 300 M.Sc., 8 M. Phil and 20 PhD students and along with 2 patents. He received several national & international awards, such as: Bangladesh Academy of Science Goal Medal Award, 2010; National Jute Award, Federation of Asian Chemical Society Award (FACS) Award.

 At Present he is the number one scientist in Jute sector all over the world with respect to international publications sited by Scopus. He is honored by several national industrial organization as well. He has visited more than 22 countries for academic research and conference. He was a visiting professor of renowned national and international universities.  

Dr. M A Khan as a scientist majorly emphasized on applying science to human welfare and environmental friendly content throughout his long research life and still leading some extraordinary innovative projects which are beyond eulogy. Among his research and inventions for a sustainable development of Bangladesh, remarkable works are:

Ø Development of Bio-degradable Polymer packaging material for jute, which can be an alternative of traditional polybag.

Ø Bio-degradable polymer film development, which can be used as a replacement of polybag.

Ø Improving the physico-mechanical properties of Jute along with other natural fibers.

Ø Outstanding invention of “Jutin”, a Jute composite high-performance material which can be used as household materials.

Ø Non-harm, cost effective & easy obtainable food preservative from chitosan extruded from prawn shell.

Ø Echo friendly fertilizer, a natural plant growth promoter from seaweeds.

Ø Research on “Zero Waste Technology” and developing a Radiation based Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) which can neutralize textile effluents and the byproducts will be a fertilizer for plants. The waste water will be recycled and can be used for external uses.

Features of the invented technologies:

Bio-degradable Packaging Material (Sonali Bag): It is well-known that, traditional Polybags are made of petroleum polymer called Polyethylene (PE)/ Polypropylene (PP) which are not bio-degradable. It is a threat to all over the world, only in Dhaka city almost 41 crore traditional polybags are used only in Dhaka city. Now a day, Dr. Mubarak Ahmad khan and his group developed totally bio-degradable packaging materials from Jute. Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has named the bag as “Sonali Bag”. The characteristic features of this packaging material are as follows:

§  Manufactured from the cellulose of Jute.

§  Completely bio-degradable and environmental friendly.

§  Completely degrades in soil within 6 months.

§  Can sustain in water for 5 hours and then slowly starts denigrating.

§  Tensile strength is 1.5 times of available polybags, means it can carry load 1.5 times higher than a similar polyethylene bag.

§  Can be used as a packaging material, especially for readymade garments.

§  As a food preservation material, it’s performance is admirable.

§  Sonali Bag is manufactured from completely domestic raw materials, technology & technologists. So, it’s impact factor on socio economic aspect is remarkable.

§  Beside reducing environmental pollution, it can be a solution for drainage jamming problem in densely populated cities like Dhaka.

Passively this product also provides us benefits in two ways-

1.     By increasing production of jute: It will increase the demand of jute cultivation. Which will play an important role in socio-economic aspect by creating earning source.

 2. Reducing the foreign currencies outflow: This product can be manufactured by using completely domestic raw materials and technologies. So, foreign currencies outflow will be reduced.

Jute is not only biodegradable but also it prevents carbon dioxide emission. It is reported that one hectare of jute plants absorbs 15 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and add 11 tons of O2 during its life span of 120 days. Besides, the renewability of jute fiber is much higher than other conventional cellulose sources like wood pulp. For an example a wood plant takes around 10 years to be ready for cellulose collection whereas jute plant only takes 120 days.

This packaging material is required not only for Bangladesh but also for the Global. The international demand of the product is so high that, if all the Jute of a highest productive year is used for production, it will meet up only one third portion demand of whole world. The global bio plastics market was 19.54 billion USD in 2016 and is estimated to reach US$ 65.58 billion in 2022 at an estimated CAGR of 22.36% for the forecasted period. Europe and North America are expected to dominate the overall market of biodegradable packaging. North America is expected to be the largest consumer of the biodegradable packaging market.

 

Improvising the properties of Jute and other Natural Fibers:

§  Physical & mechanical properties of different natural fibers i.e. Jute, coir fiber, coconut shell, silk etc. has been improvised after conducting research for almost 2 decades.

§  These reinforced natural fibers will play a vital roll in manufacturing high performance materials and sustainable infrastructures. Geo-Textile materials and furniture have already been manufactured from reinforcement Jute. The research for development their performance is still on going.

Application of Radiation in ETP:

§  Conducting research on “Zero Waste Technology”, An Effluent Treatment Plant is designed with a radioactive source. The radioactivity removes the polluting substances like dyes & chemical particles, resolves the imbalance of BOD, COD, TDS, pH etc.

§  Textile effluents are separated very efficiently by this technology.

§  Coagulated effluent solid derived from the radioactivity, can be used as plant growth fertilizer and the water is allowed for external use.

§  Developed 3R concept (Zero Waste Technology) for textile industries in Bangladesh for neutralizing textile effluents and sludges. This technology doesn’t produce any sludge, treated water could be recycled and reused.

Sustainable Furniture Manufacturing:

§  Invention of “Jutin” from Jute & polyester resin.

§  Jutin is a groundbreaking success for a developing country and already has granted as a patent.

§  These are resistant to rust, heat, salt water (can sustain in salt water more than 50 years); light weight, high tensile strength.

§  Due to being thermoresistant, they appear with a great performance in both summer and winter based regions.

§  Developing countries like us, habitation for unprivileged people, in coastal areas and industrial application Jutin is definitely a great option.

§  Technical Field: Bio-degradable Polymer

§  Background: Millions of plastic bags are disposed every day in Bangladesh from which very few are recycled. About 410 million poly-bags are used in only Dhaka city per month and only 10-15% is put into dustbins, most end up in drains, sewage pipes, and open places. More than 3 meters layer are formed in the base mate of the Buriganga River. 80% of Dhaka’s water-logging is caused by plastic bags. Following the 1998 flood it was estimated that up to 80% of the city’s waterlogging was caused by polyethylene blocking drains.

These bags create major environmental degradation and air pollution as they emit hydrogen cyanide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other toxic and harmful gases into the atmosphere throughout their life cycle. Moreover, plastic bags are made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable natural resource. As a result, the manufacturing of these plastic bags contributes to the diminishing availability of our natural resources and the damage to the environment. Most plastic bags are made of polyethylene- more commonly known as polythene, they are hazardous to manufacture and are said to take up to 1,000 years to decompose on land and 450 years in water. Polythene disturbs the flow of nutrients in the soil and reduces the infiltration of sunlight and water. Polythene destroys beneficial bacteria in the soil, depleting its fertility, which directly affects agriculture.

For human being these bags are threat as the polythene is an agent of cancer, skin diseases, and other health problems. Ingesting polythene wrapped food is harmful for health (especially black polythene shopping bags that emit carcinogenic chemicals) and when burned, polythene releases hydrogen cyanide, which is an extremely hazardous gas. Countless plastic bags end up in our ocean and cause harm to our marine wildlife. Many marine animals and birds mistakenly ingest plastic or become entangled and choke in plastic bags that are floating around. It is estimated 100,000 marine mammals die each year because of plastic litter in our ocean in the North Pacific. Land animals are also victim as well, in subcontinental countries, domestic animals like cows, goats mistakenly ingest plastic bags and end up choking or starving to death.

Concerning the threats of the polythene bags, Bangladesh was the first country to ban plastic bags in 2002 and over a decade later many developed countries are still struggling to emulate this success. Recently introduced biodegradable bags in the international market are very costly compared with the polythene bags and thus is not suitable for the mass people of Bangladesh. So, the problem is still in an alarming situation in Bangladesh.

§  Summary: The research team under Prof. Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan, Scientific Advisor, Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) have been working to develop a low-cost biodegradable polymer from locally available resources from several years in Institute of Radiation and Polymer Technology, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission. After extensive researches the team has developed a polymer film from jute-based cellulose. This invention was required not only for Bangladesh but also for the global. The mechanical properties of the developed bio-degradable polymer are very much comparable (tensile strength is 1.5 times) and thermal properties are higher than traditional poly bags. Passively, this material also provides us benefits in two ways- a. By increasing production of jute, b. Reducing the foreign currencies outflow. So, alternatively, it is reducing the emission of CO2. It is reported that one hectare of jute plants absorbs 15 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and add 11 tons of O2 during its life span of 120 days. Again, the renewability of jute fiber is much higher than other conventional cellulose sources like wood pulp. For an example a wood plant takes around 10-15 years to be ready for cellulose collection whereas jute plant only takes 120 days. If this invention can be commercialized, the international demand of the products will be so high that, if all the Jute of a highest productive year is invested for production, it will meet up only one third portion demand of whole world. The global bio-plastics market was 19.54 billion USD in 2016 and is estimated to reach US$ 65.58 billion in 2022 at an estimated CAGR of 22.36% for the forecasted period. Europe and North America are expected to dominate the overall market of biodegradable packaging. North America is expected to be the largest consumer of the biodegradable packaging market.

§  Brief Description of the Accompanying Drawing:Description: H:\Official Docs\Projects\BJMC_Packaging\Pilot flow chart.jpg

§  Detailed Description:

§  We Claim:

§  Abstract: In order to face the challenge of protecting living beings and environment from the threatening effect of over usage of non-biodegradable plastic materials, scientists have been working relentlessly for decades. Most of the traditional bio-degradable plastic materials are synthesized from human food materials like starch. Except of being costly, it was impossible to commercialize because of increasing the demand of human food passively. On the other hand, cellulose is the most abundant natural polymer on Earth which is completely bio-degradable. Among them, Jute contains more than 65% cellulose, which can be cultivated easily in the environment of this subcontinental, especially in Bangladesh. So, the extracted cellulose from Jute is used for developing a completely bio-degradable polymer film along with 30% synthetic bio-degradable polymer. This cellulose based bio-degradable polymer film can be applied to develop packaging material instead of PE or PP based plastic bags due to their excellent physico-mechanical properties. This polymer shows 1.5 times higher tensile strength and better thermal properties than traditional plastic packaging materials. So, this cellulose based bio-degradable polymer can be a great solution to cope with the threats of petroleum based plastic materials in certain cases.

Contact:

 Email:  makhan.inst@gmail.com