Cotton Innovation Shines in Southern India

Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor, Texas Tech University, USA 

Photo: Cotton-bamboo sanitary napkin displayed at the exhibition

Innovation is needed in developing sustainable advanced products from cotton. In a function to inaugurate the “Innovation & Entrepreneurship Development Cell,’’ at Dindigul, India-based RVS College of Engineering, the importance of translating ideas to reality was emphasized. Dindigul region is an important cotton spinning region in the State of Tamil Nadu with about 800 cotton spinning mills.  

I had the opportunity to lecture to about 100 people in the audience, about the need to work on ideas that will help society, such as using sustainable materials. Speaking at the event, Dr. Binod Badhri Advisor, RVS Group of Institutions emphasized the importance of an innovation pipeline in higher education institutions. Researchers from the institution exhibited products that came out of their research such as cotton-bamboo sanitary napkins, cotton oil seed crusher, a method to automatically inflate tires, etc. 

“Entrepreneurship education should be part of the curriculum in higher education institutes, which will help many to be job creators,” stated Dr. Vaidyanathan Krishnakumar, Director, RVS Group of Institutions. My lecture promoted the value-added applications of cotton such as cotton-layered face masks and oil absorbents using mini demonstrations. Natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, and their blends can be used to develop advanced products like conveyor belts, medical pads, toxic chemical absorbents, etc., which was evident from many products displayed at the exhibition at the institute. Engineering institutes are focusing on entrepreneurship development, which is a welcoming sign.