Mumbai News

2 IIT-Bombay start-ups develop steriliser that can keep surfaces bacteria, virus-free – Hindustan Times

Two start-ups incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay have developed an alcohol-free steriliser that can keep surfaces free from bacteria and virus for 10 days.

Launched on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day on August 15, Avran is a virucide powered by nanotechnology.

It has been developed by Navork Innovations Private Ltd, a start-up working in the domains of nanotechnology, chemicals, textile, and material science, in association with Abstract Ideas, a design, and aesthetics start-up.

Avran is one of the products selected by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology’s Department of Science and Technology under an initiative called the Centre for Augmenting War with coronavirus disease (Covid-19) health crisis (CAWACH).

The two start-ups, mentored by the Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) at IIT-Bombay, came together to develop the product following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have received a Rs 1-crore grant from CAWACH for developing and marketing the product. Our first batch of sterilisers were dispatched on Monday,” said Diptesh Mukherjee, an IIT-Bombay alumnus and a co-founder of Abstract Ideas.

Agastya Bouyant, incubated at IIM-Calcutta, that manufactures inflatables for cleaning of water surfaces of rivers and sea, too, was a part of the product development.

The steriliser is alcohol-free and a single spray can protect a surface from both virus and bacteria. The product has been tested at a laboratory that is accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).

The steriliser provides five levels of protection by providing a coating of nanoparticles, positively-charged molecular chains, antiviral and antibacterial film, nitrogen and halogen-based organic compounds (halamines) and naturally-occurring coconut and lemon extracts.

“Our product can kill 99.999% virus and bacteria in five minutes only. The surface will remain bacteria and virus-free for 10 days,” said Abhishek Sahgal, an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, and the co-founder of Navork.

Manufactured at IIT-Bombay and a facility in Taloja in Navi Mumbai, the sterilisers are high in demand, according to the founders.

“The demand for the product is almost 10 times that we had estimated. Around 40% of our customers are distributors of medical supplies, 30% are companies established in the industry and the rest (30%) are the general public,” said Sahgal.

A 250-millilitre (ml) spray bottle is priced at Rs 240 and a 500-ml bottle is available for Rs 360. While for a five-litre jar, the disinfectant is available for Rs 1,750.

A patent for the technology was filed four months ago and the product will be available on e-commerce portals from September.