Innovation Meets Intent: Aayush Thakur and Our Shared Vision for Sustainability

Aasyush Thakur with Manish Kothari (Right)

Every once in a while, you come across a moment that reaffirms your faith in your chosen path. My mission has always been to merge the realms of manufacturing and sustainability in a way that not only fuels innovation but also honours my deep-rooted love for India. The SPB project, an endeavour to create the Silica Plastic Block by amalgamating foundry sand waste with plastic waste, has been a cornerstone of this mission, embodying my vision for a greener future.

It was on the 20th of March, amidst my usual flurry of LinkedIn notifications, that a particular message caught my eye. It was from Aayush Thakur, a postgraduate student from CIPET Baddi, whose words echoed the very passion that has driven my work: “Sir, I am interested in your work and I also want to work on environmentally friendly products. I am pursuing a PGD PPT course from CIPET BADDI. After gaining much more experience and knowledge, I want to collaborate with you. I want to do R&D with you, sir, to discover other alternatives, and I want your help, sir.”

This was a mirror to my beginnings—an eager mind yearning to make a tangible difference. I knew right then that I had to bring Aayush on board. We at Rhino Machines are now excited to host him for a joint research project focused on enhancing the lifecycle of plastics through SPB research. I’ve always believed that if you persist on a purposeful and meaningful path, the universe conspires to align things in your favour. It is a clear sign that the youth are ready to step up and tackle our environmental issues. His approach is where passion meets diligence, and I am eager to join forces with him to chart out new avenues in our shared battle for a sustainable world.

March 26th, 2024, marked a memorable day at Rhino Machines. The enthusiasm that pulsated through the walls of our innovation centre was not just my own but vibrantly emanated from a young man who had taken over a thousand kilometres, driven by sheer passion and the will to contribute to a sustainable future. Aayush Thakur, a student from the serene hills of Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, arrived in the dynamic town of Anand, Gujarat, having secured his travel on a waitlisted ticket.

I’ve interacted with many young minds throughout my career, all bright and curious, but Aayush stood out. Not just because he chose to invest his resources to be here but because his commitment shone through his actions. Meeting him for the first time, I was greeted by his soft-spoken demeanour, humility, and insightful questions. It was clear from the outset that Aayush was not here to observe merely. He was here to immerse himself in the process, to learn and contribute tangibly.

His initiative was not a spur-of-the-moment decision; it was a calculated step. Despite being in the second semester of his Post Diploma course, with project work typically reserved for the fourth semester, Aayush did not let the academic structure restrict his eagerness. With the consent of his professors and guides, he had chosen to tread an unorthodox path, prioritizing real-world experience over the conventional timeline of syllabus-driven education.


Aayush Thakur’s Passion for Innovation & Sustainability

It’s a rare and invigorating experience to meet a young person who is inspired from within, not driven by external obligations or curricula, but by an internal compass that points towards innovation and sustainable development. Aayush had not only been proactive in his academic pursuits, working independently in production, collecting data, writing, and understanding the intricacies of the process, but he also brought a fresh perspective, unmarred by the predefined boundaries of textbooks.

As we sat down to chart out the project assignment, it was clear that Aayush was ready to dive into the deep end. The assignment was to be a comprehensive exploration of the physical and thermal properties of our Silica Plastic Blocks, measuring their strengths, thermal behavior, life cycle, and stability characteristics. Moreover, we were to examine the potential environmental impacts, such as microplastic production during manufacture and the leaching effects during use—critical assessments for the sustainability profile of our products.

Aayush’s eyes lit up as we discussed the details. His readiness to understand and put in the extra hours and effort required for this project was admirable. Here was a student who was not just waiting for opportunities to come knocking but was building doors to ensure they would arrive. In the days that followed, Aayush became a part of our team, not just in name but in spirit. His presence was a reminder that the path to innovation is not a solo journey but a collaborative venture, one that is enriched by the enthusiasm and fresh perspectives of the youth.


From Belief to Knowing: Dreaming of a Sustainable Future

As I reflect on the journey Aayush Thakur embarked upon, a young student with a heart full of resolve and a mind eager to challenge the status quo, I am reminded of the power that lies within our youth. They are indeed diamonds in the rough, the HIEERAs of our society. It’s our responsibility to mine and shine these brilliant minds, to guide them not just towards achieving their potential but also towards contributing meaningfully to Sustainable Development.

My experiences with Aayush have led to a pivotal shift in my approach—from belief to knowing. I now understand that the most impactful work I can do is to focus on the input, which is within my control. The outcomes, though important, are a result of the process, which must be carefully nurtured and constantly refined through a systematic and methodical approach. Our collaboration, which began with a simple message and a leap of faith, has now evolved into something much larger—an Industry-Academia joint research initiative driven by the passion and curiosity of a young student. Aayush’s journey has the potential to ignite a similar spark in his peers, inspiring them to join this exploration, to collaborate, and to grow in unison.

The research we are undertaking is crucial; it explores the Silica Plastic Block (SPB) technology, a composite material that could revolutionize the way we view and use plastic. Our aim is to document and quantify the impact that SPB could have on enhancing the plastic lifecycle. Starting with a thorough literature review of plastic life capabilities, assessing the existing efficiency of use, and finally exploring the pivotal role of SPB in elevating the resource efficiency of plastic.

This is more than research; it’s a mission. It’s a journey that Aayush and I, along with others who choose to join us, will undertake to tread a path less travelled. A path that promises to uncover new knowledge and catalyse change in how we handle one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. In closing, I realise that the accurate measure of innovation is not just in the technologies we create but in the lives we inspire and the futures we shape through our actions. With the support of academia and the relentless spirit of our youth, we are not just dreaming of a sustainable future—we are actively constructing it, one Silica Plastic Block at a time.


  • Manish Kothari

    Manish Kothari is the Managing Director at Rhino Machines Pvt Ltd, a visionary leader at the forefront of promoting antiviral technologies, fostering ecommerce solutions, championing Made in India products, driving wasterecycling initiatives, and inspiring groundbreaking product innovation. With his passion for sustainability and innovation, he continues to pave the way for transformative advancements in multiple sectors.


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