Prof. Dibakar Chandra Deka M.Sc., M.Tech., Ph.D., DTIT, D.Sc., FRSC is a senior professor in the Department of Chemistry, Gauhati University, Assam, India. Educated in Cotton College, Gauhati University and IIT Kharagpur, Prof. Deka was an UNESCO Research Fellow in Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan from October/1989 to September/1990 and a Commonwealth Visiting Fellow in The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK from October 1997 to September 1998. In Tokyo, he worked in the research group of Prof. Takeshi Nakai and in Manchester he worked in the research group of Prof. Eric Jim Thomas. Currently, his research interests include organic synthesis, biofuels, natural products chemistry, applied catalysis, traditional alcoholic beverages, etc. He has successfully guided till now 23 research students to obtain Ph.D. degrees and a dozen more working in diverse areas.
Use of ecofriendly and biodegradable heterogeneous catalysts is one of the key aspects one needs to consider while engaging in the development of newer generation of chemical processes. Such an effort would ensure, at least in part, the greener perspective of a process. In such an effort, we have come across a few interesting sources of biomass which have been converted to highly active heterogeneous catalysts with potential for use in industrial processes. Post-harvest banana plants (Musa balbiosiana Colla) are a huge waste of biomass which contributes little to the economic aspect of the farmers. We have converted this waste biomass to a useful heterogeneous catalyst which have been successfully tested in the transesterification process of vegetable oils to biodiesel  and organic syntheses . Water hyacinth (Esichhornia crassipes) is an aquatic weed which grows in plenty in natural water bodies like ponds, lakes, and other natural water reservoirs. It has little economic value and is often considered a hazard for other economically important crops. A highly potent catalyst has been derived from this aquatic weed and successfully used in organic transformations . Red cotton (Bombax ceiba) is a huge permanent non-aquatic plant which produces tons of red flowers every year. The naturally fallen flowers find no economic value and simply a waste. We have discovered an application out of these waste flowers in converting them in to a heterogeneous catalyst which proves excellent in transesterification reactions and could find large scale applications in biodiesel industries