CSIR Technology Award 2019:
Scientists awarded for process that derives value-added products from distillery waste The Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavnagar has won the Technology Award of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for developing technology to recover potash and other value-added products from distillery spent wash. Dr Amitava Das, director of CSMCRI, and a team of scientists led by Pratyus Maiti received the award from President Ramnath Kovind at a ceremony to be organised in Delhi on Thursday, 26 Sep. 2019. CSIR, the apex body that oversees scientific and industrial research in the county and which is headed by the Prime Minister, gives away awards for outstanding research and innovations in the fields of life science, innovation, physical science including engineering and business development and technology marketing every year. The CSMCRI has won the award in the category or innovation for the year 2019, an official release from the Bhavnagar based laboratory said. A team of scientists led by Maiti and comprising Subarna Maiti and Dr Soumya Haldar had achieved the breakthrough around two years ago when they managed to separate potash, water and organic matter from distillery spent wash. The team developed the technology with the help of Chem Process Systems Private limited, an Ahmedabad- based engineering firm. Distillery spent wash is the hazardous waste-water generated during the process of distilling alcohol from fermented sugarcane molasses. If disposed of untreated, potash and biodegradable organic matter in the spent wash can be contaminate surface and groundwater sources. However, through a physico -coagulation process, the CSMCRI scientists managed to separate complex organic compounds and potash salt from the spent wash. In the secondary chain, the scientists managed to recover recycled water and residues through the process of evaporating lean spent wash that the primary process yields after recovery of organic compounds and potash. The residues can be mixed with organics to prepare cattle feed. Thus, the process enables distilleries to meet the zero-liquid discharge norms set by the government. The technology has been named zero-waste process for recovery of potash fertiliser, water and other value added by-products(s) from spent wash and the CSMCRI has already commercialised it. The new technology is expected to help augment the capacity of existing distilleries in the country, as well as new ones to boost ethanol production. Ethanol is used as a biofuel.