DRDO signs MoU with Maha-Metro for installing eco-friendly biodigester units

New Delhi: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation (Maha-Metro) are working together to conserve water and protect the environment by installing DRDO's eco-friendly biodigester units (a non-sewered sanitation technology) in its facilities. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been inked on January 5, 2021, between Maha-Metro and DRDO through which DRDO will render technical support for the implementation of its advanced biodigester Mk-II technology for the treatment of human waste (night soil) in the metro rail network.

DRDO's Director General (Life Sciences) Dr AK Singh and Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL)'s Managing Director (MD) Dr Brijesh Dixit exchanged the MoU on behalf of their organisations. The MoU has been signed by Defence Research and Development Establishment's (DRDE), Gwalior Director Dr DK Dubey and MMRCL's (Pune) Director Atul Gadgil. DRDO’s biodigester is an indigenous, green and cost-effective technology, with a rare distinction of having one of the largest numbers of DRDO-licensees (ToT holders).

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Indian Railways has already installed about 2.40 lakh biodigesters in its fleet of passenger coaches. Now for Maha-Metro, the technology has been revamped and further improved in a bid to save the water and space.

A customised version of this MK-II Biodigester, suitable for treating human waste generated from houseboats in Dal Lake was successfully demonstrated by the DRDO to J&K Administration. Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LWDA) of the J&K Administration has initiated the process to procure 100 units of Mk-II Biodigesters for civil habitats around the Dal Lake so as to minimize water pollution. The implementation of Biodigester MK-II in Srinagar is being monitored by a committee of experts constituted by the High Court of J&K under the Chairmanship of Dr E Sreedharan, former MD of DMRC. When fully implemented, this green technology will significantly reduce the Dal lake pollution.

This technology is upgraded through improvements in the bio-degradation efficiency, design modification and addition of secondary treatment module. The new reactor is designed to provide more path length with increased biological reaction time, thereby enhancing the biodegradation efficiency of the system. This technology was primarily developed for the armed forces in high altitude Himalayan regions, including Leh-Ladakh and Siachen glacier.

Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary DDR&D & Chairman DRDO conveyed his wishes to both the teams for successful implementation and said that technologies require up-gradation with the availability of data and feedback.

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