Dr. Aspi N. Patel is an accomplished leader with over three decades of international experience leading various technical, manufacturing, and tech marketing functions in the global textile, chemical, and flooring markets, building products, filtration, and aerospace industries. He has held leadership positions in organizations like GE, DuPont, and Invista and is the present CTO of Aditya Birla Group Mumbai. During his three-decade-long career, Dr. Patel has demonstrated his ability to lead and mentor cross-functional teams with the responsibility of research, development, and commercialization of new products, processes, operations, quality, and customer technical services.
He has developed a reputation for excellence while dealing with various stakeholders thanks to his ability to lead and mentor international cross-functional teams with responsibility for technological development and commercialization of new products, processes, engineering, and manufacturing. Dr. Patel is proficient in developing technology, vision, and strategy, recognizing emerging industry trends, and identifying competitive threats and acquisition opportunities.
Dr. Patel has received several awards and accolades during his long and illustrious career. In 2015, he received the Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Leader; most recently, in 2019, he received the prestigious Aditya Birla Group’s Leader of Leaders Award for his immense contributions to shaping the organization’s technology strategies and for the lasting impact of his leadership.
The Leading Textile Manufacturer
Grasim Industries Limited, a flagship company of the global conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, ranks amongst the top publicly listed companies in India. Established in 1947, Grasim started its journey as a textile manufacturer in India. Now, it has evolved into a leading diversified player with a presence across several sectors. It is a leading global producer of Viscose Stape Fibre and Viscose Filament Yarn, the largest Chlor-Alkali, Epoxy, Linen Yarn, and Fabrics in India.
Recently a team of fiber experts at Birla Cellulose, a unit of Grasim Industries Limited and Australia-based leading research and development company, Nanollose, has filed a joint patent application for a high-tenacity lyocell fiber made from bacterial cellulose.
The patent application, titled ‘High Tenacity Lyocell Fibres From Bacterial Cellulose and Method of Preparation,’ represents a significant advancement over Nanollose’s previous viscose versions of nullarbor™ and nufolium™.
“It is potentially a path-breaking innovation that can replace some of the current MMCF feedstock with microbial biomass developed from food and agricultural waste. Birla Cellulose filed a joint patent with Nanollose, where we successfully converted microbial biomass to a high-tenacity lyocell fiber. We are now exploring pathways to scale up this technology from food and agriwaste streams,“- said Dr. Patel.
Pioneering Environmental Control Technologies
Birla Cellulose’s approach involves the development of innovative solutions to increase circularity, resource efficiency and minimize environmental footprint. For example, Birla Cellulose’s work on chemical recovery from waste streams has led to the development of a new membrane distillation process that can use up to 50% less energy than the existing process, which has a significant impact on lowering GHG emissions. There is also a new process in development for recovering low-concentration zinc from waste streams and recycling it back into the process. Over the past few years, the organization’s intense focus on recycling has reduced chemical consumption by an annualized rate of 5% to 7%.
Birla Cellulose is the first manmade cellulosic fiber (MMCF) producer to have achieved Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) in the viscose and lyocell process. Although MMCF manufacturing is water-intensive, Birla Cellulose has become a global leader regarding the lowest water consumption per ton of cellulosic fiber. At one of its plants, Birla Cellulose recently completed a Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) project that essentially eliminated all liquid discharge. This is an entirely new development, as no existing ZLD technology was available to treat viscose and lyocell effluent along with high organic and inorganic content, dissolved solids, and hardness. Birla Cellulose has also developed and commercialized the process in a way that the salts extracted from ZLD are of sufficient purity for reuse in industrial applications.
Building a Sustainable World
Grasim and Birla Cellulose’s business strategy and organizational culture are both fundamentally based on sustainability. They have a long-term commitment to building a sustainable business that is in line with their sustainability model, which is based on identifying risks and opportunities, mitigating risks, inclusive growth of all their stakeholders, building transparency in the process, and public disclosure of commitments.
As a global conglomerate, Aditya Birla Group is governed by a robust set of unifying values with a vision of creating value for all stakeholders. The organization seeks to be a leader in the industries it serves, with a focus on the following;
- Excellence in Quality
- Sustainability across the value chain – Implementing measures to continuously improve consumption ratios, reduce water usage and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Customer centricity- Understanding customer expectations and obligations to convert them into meaningful long-term partnerships for shared benefits and goals.
- Responsible governance- Creating sustainable employment, stimulating economic growth, and creating positive value for all our stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees, surrounding communities, and society at large.
“In today’s globally connected world, new ideas and innovations come from all corners of the world at a continually accelerating pace. Scientists and engineers need to be open and flexible in absorbing new knowledge and learning to apply it in different ways to develop new products and more efficient processes. I believe in Edison’s motto of not inventing or developing things that won’t sell since “sale is proof of utility and utility is a success,”– said Dr. Patel.