DBT’s commitment to sustainable and optimal use of environmental resources for human benefit is manifested through its support for efforts on clean fuel technology, bio-toilets, conservation of 100 most threatened species, bio-remediation of toxic chemicals like lindane, green remediation of textile dyes, restoration of mangroves of the Sunderbans and much more.
The efforts of the department towards sustainable development have received a great boost from the Government’s initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Key missions that DBT along with other ministries is working for include some which are critical for the environment mitigating climate change impact on farmers and agriculture, clean energy, swatch bharat – waste to energy.
On April 22, India’s first cellulosic alcohol technology demonstration plant developed through indigenous technology with capacity of 10 ton per day was inaugurated at Kashipur, Uttarakhand by Union Minister for Science and Technology & Earth Sciences Dr Harsha Vardhan.
The one of its kind bio-energy plant developed by DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Biosciences at ICT Mumbai with support from the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology and its public sector undertaking – Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), has successfully demonstrated for the first time the production of ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass.
India’s first 2G or cellulosic ethanol (alcohol) demonstration plant is based on the novel and indigenous 2G-alcohol technology developed by the DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Biosciences, a Centre of Excellence established in 2008 at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology of India.
In an effort to give cleaner toilets to the nation, DBT & BIRAC with BMGF has ‘Reinvented the Toilet Challenge for India’. Six proposals of new bio-toilet technologies have been supported five of which aims at developing proof of concept, BIRAC has been supported for four waste management technologies while the Energy and Resources Institute has been supported for installation of 100 toilets to demonstrate technology.
DBT has helped in mangrove restoration at the Sunderbans. A nursery harboring 22 mangrove species has been established at Sunderbans, molecular study for the loss of mangrove ecosystem homeostasis was conducted and the study found that synthesis of nitrogen-rich and energy-intensive organic solutes effects mangroves under degraded soil conditions.
Green remediation process has been developed for textile dyes in wastewaters, while DBT has also supported a crucial study for the understanding of genome organization & gene expression of lindane degrading bacteria. The department has now initiated efforts in India’s river cleaning programme.
DBT’s efforts spanning myriad areas of environmental challenges and sustainability has produced more than 200 research papers in two years and is focused towards ensuring long-term sustainability of environmental resources for the future.