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Home / Cities / Union minister Harsh Vardhan inaugurates DME fuel plant at NCL, Pune 

Union minister Harsh Vardhan inaugurates DME fuel plant at NCL, Pune 

cities Updated: Sep 09, 2019 19:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Pune Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology, and Earth Sciences, inaugurated a dimethyl ether (DME) pilot plant under the mission project ‘Catalysis for Sustainable Development’, at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL) on Monday. 

DME will be a non-fossil additive to the liquified petroleum gas (LPG) used for cooking. The DME project is aimed at helping in the Prime Minister Ujjwala Yojana, that provides cooking gas to the marginalised, by reducing import.  DME can be blended with LPG upto maximum of 20%, according to NCL officials.

The DME pilot plant mission project catalysts for sustainable develpoment was a result of the decisions made through the 2015 Dehradun declaration, according to Ashwini Kumar Nangia, Director of CSIR-NCL.

“In the Dehradun Declaration that was made in May-June 2015, we had decided specifics of concrete developments so that our research and technology does not remain inside laboratories. We vowed to take these inventions to the industry and through the industry to the people,” said Vardhan.

“It was also decided that CSIR labs will devise ways to develop industry driven technologies, including game changing technologies. Each laboratory would also develop at least one technology in strategic sector for India. The two days of ‘Chintan Shivir’ held on June 12 and 13, 2015 concluded with all CSIR labs agreeing to make efforts to be self financing in next 2 years,” read a 2015 statement by the Ministry of Science and Technology. 

The decision to leave the CSIR labs to fend for themselves for two years after the Dehradun declaration had drawn flak for Vardhan.

When asked about the funding available for research projects, the minister said, “If you compare the past four years and the four-five years before that, you will see some 90% change in DST (drug susceptibility testing), biotechnology has seen 65%, CSIR has also seen a 45% rise in funding. Plus, they also have self-creation of funds.”

He further added, “In government, there is never a problem of money. There has be a programme ambitious enough for the money.  If there is a project, there’s always money.”

CSIR-NCL has applied for three patents related to the project which will help them make money out of the project. The DME project has five industrial partner organisations attached to it. The five organisations include three government companies including Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilszers Limited (PSU - Mini-Ratna), Engineers India Limted (PSU) - Navratna company) and Automative Research Association of India (ARAI), Pune. The two private players include SignAssure -Deepak Group which is a privately owned methanol producer and Kirloskar Oil Engines Limited, Pune.


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