PIB News 26th Oct, 2020


(General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management, Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.)

New age sustainable disinfectants and sanitizers may bring relief from chemical ones with side effects
“The structures and processes which made these extraordinary achievements possible are being incorporated in the upcoming Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020”: Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, DST Secretary

The days of suffering from dry, itching hands due to rinsing them multiple times with chemical disinfectants and soap as protection against contact infection of COVID 19 may soon be over. A number of start-ups based in different parts of India are now armed with a range of sustainable alternatives to conventional chemical-based decontaminants that can disinfect surfaces and even microcavities.

They also include technologies for disinfection of the biomedical waste generated at hospitals and the use of novel nanomaterials and chemical process innovations for long-lasting & safe sterilization of the recurrent use surfaces.

Safe disinfection and sanitization technologies have come from a total of 10 companies supported for disinfectants and sanitizers under Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH), an initiative by the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science and Technology (DST), implemented by Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), IIT Bombay.

Mumbai based start-up Inphlox Water Systems, with expertise in treating complex polluted water and wastewater, modified their technology to design and develop a system for space and equipment disinfection to fight COVID 19 contamination titled VAJRA. The VAJRA KE Series uses a disinfection system consisting of a multistage disinfection process by incorporating electrostatic discharge that generates ozone, and the powerful sterilizing effects of UVC light spectrum. VAJRA Kavach-E (KE) uses advanced oxidation, electrostatic discharge, and UVC light spectrum to inactivate the viruses, bacteria, and other microbial strains present on the PPE. This saves costs by making the PPE, medical, and nonmedical gear reusable. 

Inphlox Water Systems, which started with the Nidhi Prayas grant from DST (through IIT Bombay) for innovations in the water sector, used the CAWACH grant from DST to modify their technology to make it suitable for combating the COVID 19 infection. They prepared themselves for manufacturing 25 space disinfection systems per month, streamlined the production, supply chain, and logistics to scale up the manufacturing capacity by 25% with each passing month thereon.

At present, they are coordinating with IIT Bombay’s and CCMB’s (Hyderabad) virology labs for further testing of these systems. The startup is ready with commercial product versions and is working on improving product certifications so that specialized labs can also use their solutions.

Coimbatore based Eta Purification offers advanced sterilization solutions. It is using environmentally-sound micro-cavity plasma technology. This novel technology, where the disinfectant is produced directly from air or oxygen offers a sustainable alternative to conventional chemical-based decontamination.

The COSMO (Complete Sterilization by Microplasma Oxidation) system can rapidly disinfect Covid-19 infected areas, including quarantine facilities, ambulatory care, and equipment surfaces. This innovative micro-plasma sterilization system offers compact and scalable modular units which are robust, flexible, and energy-efficient.

The disinfectant is produced on-site, thereby eliminating the transport, storage, and handling of hazardous chemicals. These decontamination systems are 10 times less than the conventional system of equivalent capacity, making it suitable for resource constraint environments. Their advanced sterilization systems surpass hypochlorite and other traditional disinfectants in its ability to neutralize multi-drug resistant pathogens. The company has already provided customized solutions to hospitals and healthcare settings to sterilize selective critical care areas.

They have also taken this innovation to vulnerable communities. Presently their advanced integrated micro-plasma oxidation system for rapid sterilization has been fully developed and tested rigorously for commercial use.

A mechanical hand sanitizing dispenser machine which quantifies the steps of hand sanitization through touch less, real-time monitoring via dashboard is offered by Chennai based startup MicroGO.

Weinnovate Biosolutions from Pune has developed silver nanoparticles based on non-alcoholic liquid sanitizer. Their technology pending for patent also inhibits the RNA replication activity – preventing spread of the virus and blocks surface glycoproteins – making the virus ineffective.

An instant microwave-based handheld steriliser ATULYA and a microwave-assisted cold sterilization device OPTIMASER for hazardous biomedical waste disinfection and making linen and PPE reusable is the offering from Lucknow based Maser Technology.

OPTIMASER is microwave-assisted cold sterilisation superior technological advancement over the conventional Autoclave. It allows for disinfection and sterilisation of the PPE Kits and the masks in order to ensure the 100 reusabilities, also ensuring the cost-effectiveness of the same. ATULYA is an Instant Microwave based handheld sterilizer which offers the cutting edge over the UV tube-based steriliser, sanitising sprays & all the possible methods of sterilisation & protection.

Incubators like SINE IIT Bombay FIIT, IIT Delhi, SIIC, IIT Kanpur, HTIC, IIT Madras, Venture Centre, Pune, IKP Knowledge Park, Hyderabad, KIIT-TBI, Bhubaneswar provided timely advice on technical progress, guided the startups to follow all necessary guidelines, signing of MoUs and so on.

DST Secretary Prof. Ashutosh Sharma said, “Through these and other compelling examples of COVID-19 relevant products and technologies, the deep foundations of the Indian science and technology have rapidly come to fore by a seamless marriage of the knowledge creation and its consumption. The structures and processes which made these extraordinary achievements possible are being incorporated in the upcoming Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020.”

 

(General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management, Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.)

Newly identified tectonically active zone in Himalayas could alter earthquake study & predictions
The suture zone of the Himalayas or the Indus Suture Zone (ISZ) in the Ladakh region where Indian and Asian Plates are joined has been found to be tectonically active, as against current understanding that it is a locked zone.

This could have major implications in terms of earthquake study, prediction, understanding the seismic structure of the mountain chains well as its evolution.

A group of Scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, have found through observations and detailed mapping of geological features that the suture zone of Himalaya that was conventionally thought to be locked is tectonically active. They carried out the mapping of the remote regions of Ladakh that forms the most hinterland part of the Himalaya. The study was published recently in the journal ‘Technophysics’.

The geologists observed that sedimentary beds are tilted and thrust broken, the rivers are associated with uplifted terraces, and the bedrock shows brittle deformation that occurred at much shallower depths. These deformed geological features were then dated in the laboratory at Dehradun using a technique called Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) (method for carrying Luminescence dating of geological sediments) and data of seismicity and denudation rate reviewed. The combination of field and lab data suggested the region of the Indus Suture Zone (ISZ) has been neo-tectonically active since the last 78000 -- 58000 years and a recent earthquake in 2010 of low magnitude 4.0 near the village of Upshi that occurred due to a thrust rupture.

Himalayas were known to be made up of north dipping thrusts like the Main Central Thrust (MCT), the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT), and the Main Frontal Thrust (MFT). As per the established models, all of these thrusts except MFT are locked, and overall deformation in Himalaya is being accommodated only along with the MFT. The new findings, which suggest a more remote fault at the suture zone being neo-tectonically active, could call for a serious relook into the existing evolutionary models using new techniques and a larger geological database.

 

(General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management, Science and Technology-developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.)

 

AIM Launches India–Australia Circular Economy Hackathon(I-ACE), with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
AIM (Atal Innovation Mission), in association with CSIRO, is organizing a two-day hackathon on circular economy, ‘India–Australia Circular Economy Hackathon (I-ACE)’, on 7 and 8 December.

The idea of I-ACE was conceived during a virtual summit on 4 June, between the Indian and Australian prime ministers, exploring innovative ways to boost circular economy in India and Australia.

I-ACE will focus on identification and development of innovative technology solutions by bright-minded students, startups and MSMEs of both nations.

The four key themes for the hackathon are as follows:

  1. Innovation in packaging reducing packaging waste
  2. Innovation in food supply chains avoiding waste
  3. Creating opportunities for plastic waste reduction
  4. Recycling critical energy metals and e-waste

Shortlisted students and startups/MSMEs will be called for the hackathon, where two winners (one student and one startup/MSME) per theme from each country will be announced at an award ceremony on 11 December.

Launching the hackathon, AIM Mission Director and NITI Aayog Additional Secretary R. Ramanan said, ‘We are looking at how we can address the circular economy challenge, which can create possible solutions for not only eliminating waste but also for reusing waste.’

CSIRO Chief of Division of Land and Water Dr Paul Bertsch, said, ‘India and Australia have had a strong and productive bilateral partnership since a decade and our collaborations across a broad range of areas have yielded significant results.’ He also highlighted that by coming together, India and Australia can align research and developmental efforts to achieve more at a challenging time in the history of mankind.

Concurring with Dr Paul Bertsch, Dr Heinz Schandl, at CSIRO Senior Science Leader of Land and Water, said, ‘In the long run a circular economy model will provide more jobs and higher economic growth. It will also reduce cost, drive innovation and have significant environmental benefits.’

Gracing the occasion, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar said, ‘This is a very important initiative to make our economy less resource intensive and ensure our economic growth is ecologically compatible.’

Highlighting the importance of combining Australia’s Research and Development base with India’s scale and record of frugal innovations, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, ‘The need of the hour is to adopt a disruptive way of doing things, which is based on sustainability and moving towards a circular economy.

The winning Indian student and startup/MSME teams will be awarded a prize of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 5 lakh, respectively, coupled with post-hackathon product development opportunities. The winning Australian student will be awarded a prize of AUD$3500 and the winning Australian SMEs/startup team a prize of AUD$9500.


 










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