Maharashtra Metro Rail network to adopt India DRDO-built biodigester technology

Photo: DRDO and MAHA-METRO memorandum of understanding exchange ceremony today.

New Delhi: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), India’s state-run defence technology developer, today entered into an arrangement with the Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MAHA-METRO) to adopt and install the former’s indigenous eco-friendly biodigester units at the latter’s facilities, as a means to conserve water and protect environment.

The DRDO and MAHA-METRO, a joint venture company of the Government of India and the Government of Maharashtra, are working together in this regard and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) 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.

The MoU was exchanged between DRDO’s Director General for Life Sciences Dr A. K. Singh and Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director Dr Brijesh Dixit and signed between Gwalior-based Defence Research and Development Establishment Director Dr D. K. Dubey and Pune-based MAHA-METRO Director Atul Gadgil.

The 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 (Transfer of Technology holders). Indian Railways has already installed about 240,000 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.

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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 Jammu and Kashmir Administration. Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LWDA) of the Jammu and Kashmir Administration has initiated the process to procure 100 units of Mk-II biodigesters for civil habitats around the Dal Lake so as to minimise water pollution.

The implementation of Biodigester MK-II in Srinagar is being monitored by a committee of experts constituted by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir under the chairmanship of Dr E. Sreedharan, former managing director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. 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 bio-degradation efficiency of the system. This technology was primarily developed for the armed forces in high altitude Himalayan regions, including Ladakh and Siachen Glacier.

DRDO Chairman and Department of Defence Research and Development Secretary Dr G. Satheesh Reddy conveyed his wishes to both the teams for the successful implementation, and said that technologies require upgradation with the availability of data and feedback.

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