Nano fertilizer can be produced locally: Prof. Nilwala Kottegoda
Prof. Nilwala Kottegoda and the team at Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) developed a new nano fertilizer product in 2010 and received 4 US patents at a time where nano fertilizer was entirely new to the scientific community.
However, The Morning learns that as there were many challenges to be overcome before Sri Lanka could commercialise this product, SLINTEC transferred the technology to one of the leading fertilizer manufacturers in India with non exclusive rights. Therefore, Sri Lanka to this day, still has production rights over this product, meaning that the potential for Sri Lanka to become a manufacturing hub for this product does exist.
The complications of anchoring urea molecules onto a nano particle which was biocompatible, along with the capital constraints and the unavailability of chemical industries such as ammonia production facilities led to the transfer of this technology to the Indian manufacturer.
This innovation was rated as a global first by the World Intellectual Property Organisation and Prof. Kottegoda was selected as one of the nine most inventive women scientists based on this new concept.
In terms of the product’s effectiveness, it was scientifically sound with a 40% nitrogen loading capacity. As it was a soil application, the product showed promising results at farmer fields with 35-40% saving of nitrogen together with 10-15 % yield improvements for tea and rice.