JNU professor elected fellow of Europe’s Royal Society of Chemistry | science | Hindustan Times
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JNU professor elected fellow of Europe’s Royal Society of Chemistry

JNU researcher working on projects on use of eco-friendly technology for crop burning, water purification and making biofuels from dried plants has been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

science Updated: Jul 30, 2017 18:13 IST
Professor Dinesh Mohan has been elected fellow of Europe’s Royal Society of Chemistry.
Professor Dinesh Mohan has been elected fellow of Europe’s Royal Society of Chemistry.(JNU website)

Water purification, converting dried plant matter to oil and using agricultural waste for soil fertilising are some of the research areas that Dr Dinesh Mohan has been focusing on for two decades.

The work of this Jawaharlal Nehru University professor in eco-friendly technologies has led to him being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, which selects a handful of chemical scientists each year for their outstanding contribution.

With over 54,000 members worldwide, it is the largest organisation of chemical scientists in Europe.

Among Dr Mohan’s projects is a technology to burn the crop residues on the fields in absence of oxygen to lower air pollution from crop burning that covers north India under a blanket of smog each winter.

“We have a special reactor, which is lab ready and can be scaled up for use at the community level by susing mobile vans. The crop residues burnt in the reactor form biochar, a material which can be used to replenish and retain essential nutrients and water in the soil, reducing the need for fertilisers. The biochar can also be used to remediate soil by removing contaminants,” said Dr Mohan.

Every year India generates around 500 million tons of crop residues.

“The half-life of the biochar in soil is around 500 years, meaning the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to the amount of biochar used will be removed from the carbon cycle for 500 years,” he said.

This biochar can be used in place of costly activated charcoal in another of his research project – a water purifier better than the current reverse osmosis (RO) filters available in the market. “The RO filters remove all mineral from the water, even the essential ones like calcium and magnesium. The filtration assembly that we are developing will only remove minerals like arsenic and fluoride and it can be operated without electricity,” he said.

Dr Mohan has authored/ co-authored 110 research papers and reviews in journals, books and encyclopedia. He has been included in the list of highly cited authors and also been named as World’s Most Influential Minds in 2015 and 16 by Thompson and Reuters.