Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi launched the ambitious ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (Clean India Mission) on 2nd October 2014. The ‘Abhiyan’ was launched on the 145th birth anniversary Mahatma Gandhi.
DBT is participating in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan through a range of initiatives like clean energy, river cleaning initiatives, technologies to clean up waste water, supporting bio-toilets and a range of other waste management & utilization technologies.
India’s first Biomass to ethanol plant & its commercialization
The Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai has developed India’s first home grown technology to convert biomass to ethanol with speed and efficiency.
The technology which converts agricultural waste into ethyl alcohol, or bio-ethanol, is superior as the rate of conversion is four times faster than other technologies currently available in the international market.
With other technologies, the time taken is 4 to 7 days, the one developed by the DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Bio-Sciences team at Institute of Chemical Technology; Mumbai converts it in 18-20 hours and produces about 300 litres of ethanol per ton of biomass. The produce can be blended with petrol to be used in vehicles as fuel.
The country’s first second-Generation (2G) Ethanol plant was inaugurated by Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan at Kashipur in Uttarakhand.
Subsequently, the technology was transferred to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) to build commercial scale biomass ethanol plants based on the technology. The plants, one at Bina in MP and another one at Bhatinda in Punjab are scheduled to be operational by 2018.
BioCNG from industrial/municipal waste
Rapid-Anerobic Digestor Technology developed by DBT-ICT Centre Mumbai
Novel bio-toilet technologies promises cleaner India
The Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat initiative has given impetus for creating innovative solutions to the pressing sanitation problems and challenges faced by our countrymen. In an effort to give cleaner toilets to the nation, DBT & BIRAC in collaboration with BMGF has supported novel bio-toilet technologies through ‘Reinvented the Toilet Challenge for India (RTTC)’ programme. Six new bio-toilet technologies,have so far been supported and different aspects of the waste collection and management process addressed. The Energy and Resources Institute with support from DBT has set up 100 toilets to demonstrate technology. Several bio-toilets will be set up in Schools of North Eastern States.
The Eco-toilet project of Pradin technologies Pvt. Ltd. in Bangalore redesigned the toilet seat, making the entire process more eco-friendly by using ultrasound to dispose and settle fecal matter, thus reducing water use in this stage.
An off-grid, self-sustained, modular, electronic toilet for slums, with solar energy for Indian weather and integrated with mixed waste processing unit, with water, energy/ fertilizer recovery was supported by BIRAC. Undertaken by Eram Scientific Solutions, Kerala, along with the University of South Florida, the system showcased a closed-loop resource recovery by integrating the slum e-Toilet with a novel onsite wastewater treatment and recovery solution termed The NEWgeneratorTM which can be deployed to high-density urban areas and areas suffering from water scarcity and low-electrical grid connectivity.
Realizing that waste of septic tanks are a rich source of nutrients for fertilizers, Bactreat Environmental Solutions LLP a Goa based company has converted this waste to sanitized soil and fertilizers. The technology is a collaborative outcome of BITS Pilani, K K Birla, Goa Campus, and Ghent University, Belgium to empower septic tank by converting them into decentralized wastewater treatment system. It can treat septage (biological waste) for a single household as well as for a gated community of 100 people equivalent (25 families).
The other technologies include use of viral agents, microbial fuel cell and effective recycling strategy to improve the economics of human waste disposal, using granular material for Hygienic Water-free toilet. The efforts have started reaping results recent UN report show a substantial decrease in open defecation in India.
River cleanup technologies
DBT is contributing to national efforts to clean up Indian rivers by supporting a major effort along with the Netherlands to implement novel technologies for cleaning up of the Barapullah canal and then finally initiate efforts to keep the Yamuna clean.
The collaborative effort will support high quality research and development programmes aiming at ‘new’ wastewater management to ensure good quality fresh water free of risk-causing contaminants and promote productive, safe reuse of water, thereby enhancing human and environmental health conditions.
In the next five years, a wastewater treatment plant to make the filthy water potable is scheduled to be set up besides removing heavy metals from the water for reuse. Most of the technology choices for cleaning the Barapullah drain would be biological in nature.
It would demonstrate a novel holistic (waste-) water management approach, that will produce clean water that can be reused for various proposes (e.g. industry, agriculture, construction etc.), while simultaneously recovering nutrients and energy from the urban waste water, thus converting drain into profitable mines. Special attention will be paid to removing pathogen and conventional and emerging pollutants (which are only partly retained in the existing WWTPs).
Cleaning Barapullah, the second largest drain in Delhi would contribute to cleaning of rivers, perhaps the most important and noblest of our missions. The project will develop an innovative pilot scale plant, suitable to Indian conditions in a location specific manner. Immediate goals of the project are to set up toilets run by primary treated water from the drain and an on-site bio-compost unit.
Green remediation technology for wastewater
DBT is participating in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan through a range of initiatives like bioremediation of filthy water.
A DBT supported project developed phytoremediation treatment process for the degradation of dyes from textile industrial effluent.
The study showed that MacrophytesIpomea aquatic, Alternantheraphiloxeroides (a massively rooted macrophyte), and Salviniamolesta showed a potential for textile dyes and effluent treatment.
A. philoxeroides, S. molesta and I. hederifolia can efficiently be used for the treatment of textile industry effluent at large scale (constructed wetland system) through rhizo filtration approach.Field application of I. aquatica, S. molesta and A. philoxeroides in waste water lagoon systems was also successfully carried out. Studies to explore these plants in a constructed wetland system for textile effluent treatment at an industrial scale are underway.
Waste treatment technologies galore
With the support of BIRAC, a public sector unit under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) a technology for removing organic waste from municipal waste water at 95 percent efficiency has been developed. The technology called anaerobic membrane bioreactor AnMBR (2000L) is a product of a company called Thermax.
A technology for treatment of wastewater from distillery industry with enhanced bio-gas yield called Vortex Diode based Cavitation Devices has been developed by another company called Vivira Process Technologies. The technology has shown an increase of 15% in biogas yield over currently available technologies at trials carried out in Dhampur Sugar Mills and Lokmangal Sugar Mills.
Localised treatment of organic waste generated in apartments and societies is an urgent requirement in rapidly developing cities. Keeping this in mind, BIRAC has supported a technology called Rhino Digester. It is a novel, robust, versatile, modular, compact and cost effective appliance for decentralized waste processing which can obviate requirements for costly disposal and treatment system for entire cities or regions. Itcan be installed at the source of waste generation–society, apartment or organization, and can convert all organic content of the waste into readily usable resources. A prototype of the appliance has been installed in a canteen to get feedback in a field situation.
Domestic septage, municipal solid waste and landfill leachate are major sources of waste from cities. Treatment systemsthat can tackle these are a major requirements for sustainable cities. In order to meet this need, a technology has been developed for co-treatment of these wastes by using a process called dry thermophilic anaerobic digestion (DTAD). The technology produces bioenergy and the aerobic composting which is an integral part it alsoproduces bio-fertilizer. DTAD of 5 L volume has been fabricated and being operated in steady state. A remote monitoring system has been developed and is under testing.
Molasses Spent Wash Treatment:Decolourization, Detoxification leading to algal biofuels
A new technology supported by BIRAC can remediate pollution from waste water of sugar or distillery industry and use it to grow algal biofuel. Microbes to be used in this process have been screened, isolated and optimized. The fungi have been grown, producing enzymes that will help in the de-colourisation process.
De-metalizer Kit for heavy metal removal from mining waste water
Surface and ground water is often laced with heavy metals making them unsuitable for use. A technology for removing such heavy metal ionsfrom the surface and underground water bodiescallednovel de-metalizer kit has been developed from biopolymers. Bio-sorption was carried out for the removal of lead ions from aqueous solution containing known concentration of Lead- Pb(II) by implementing hybrid polymers as bio sorbent. Nearly 65% of the contaminated lead ions could be removed through dipping approach whereas nearly 83% of such ions could be removed through direct addition approach at higher concentration level.
Conversion of waste to green chemicals
An economical end-to-end process to convert waste to chemicals via biogas has been developed with the help of engineered strains. Lactate dehydrogenase genes from different hosts have been expressed and tested in methanotrophs. Recombinant strains show higher levels of lactic acid compared to wild strains.