Director’s Speech: CSIR-IMMT Foundation Day 2021.
Respected Chief Guest, Dr Shekhar C Mande, Sec. DSIR & DG CSIR, dignitaries on the dais and off the dais, all my colleague and staff members of CSIR-IMMT, invited guests and friends of CSIR, watching Live through webcast and ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you all and greet you all on the occasion of CSIR-IMMT’s 58th Foundation Day. We are very grateful to DG, CSIR that he is present amongst us, in spite of his busy schedule.
It is my honour and pleasure to present annual report for the year 2020-21. CSIR-IMMT continued its R & D activities towards nation building in difficult times due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Although, COVID -19 posed several limitations throughout the year, but our scientific, technical, administrative and research scholars, PAs strived hard for executing and continuing their targeted work in time. In difficult time too, IMMT was able to work on 165 number of projects out of which 83 new projects were taken up with Rupees 31 Crore external cash flow, both funded by government and private agencies. This is 54% of the CSIR budget that we get from the HQ. The lab’s R&D activities are primarily funded by NALCO, Hindalco, Tata Steel, JSW, JSPL, NMDC, CMPDI, NTPC, DMRL, OMC, MOIL, MSPL, Rourkela Steel Plant, MIDHANI, Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Steel, Ministry of Earth Sciences and Ministry of Science & Technology. IMMT researchers have published 140 papers in SCI journals and filed 4 new patents and 7 patents are granted. Deepak Nayak along with two other authors wrote a book titled ‘Phase Transformation & Heat Treatment of Steel’ published by CRC Press Taylor and Francis. Many Scientists contributed book chapters in different edited books. Technology transferred for the year 2020-21 is 25, which is higher than the usual, as we developed many assistive devices and products related COVID19. These are foot operated wash basin, Hastasuraksha, sensor based sanitizer dispenser, disinfectant spraying Jeevnasi, coffin for dead body storage, 3D printed face mask, hand sanitizers, bio safe disposable bins etc.. All these were possible because of the hard work done by our scientists and staff members of all the departments.
During the past one year, our work culture shifted from physical based meetings and function to online based system. Except lab based and in-chair official work, almost all the group events were organised through virtual mode with support of IMMT CNeM department. Events like, monthly Research-cafe, International Conference FIMTA 2020, 6th IISF, 2020 Curtain Raiser Program, skill development program on Aerosol, International Women’s Day, etc. were celebrated through virtual mode. Also, several events were organised in-person by IMMT abiding to COVID-19 guidelines like Independence Day, Republic Day, Workshop on Technological Intervention for MSMEs; National Science Day-2021, Certificate Course in Advance Machining & Welding Technology Demonstration-cum-training program on Production of Biochars using agro-waste through low cost kiln under the CSIR Integrated Skill Initiative Programme. IMMT organised Mat Sci & Eng RAB in March 2021.
In the beginning of the 2021, minor changes in the structure of departments in IMMT were implemented for catalysing the R&D activities, better way. Research Development and Planning Division, which was existing earlier got bifurcated into two entities, SPBD & PME. The strategy planning and business development (SPBD) has been created to look after R&D planning, Business Development and Incubation Centre, whereas, Project Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) would facilitate execution of the projects. Innovation based enterprises through R & D has necessitated establishing Incubation & Technology Enabling Centre (InTec) at IMMT with prime focus on incubating the start-ups. We have also published new IMMT website reflecting all the organisational structure, calendar events along with detailed project works.
Several IMMT scientists received awards during 2020-21 and the major ones are: Dr Malay Kumar Ghosh and Dr Bankim Ch. Tripathy received NRDC National Meritorious Invention Awards 2019 (given in 2020), Dr. Anil Chaubey received IIM-NALCO Gold Medal, 2020, Dr. Swagatika Dash, awarded IEI-Young Engineers Award, Dr. Bikash Kumar Jena received CRSI-Bronze Medal 2021, Dr D. S. Rao received “S. Narayanaswami Award-2020” from Geological Society of India, Mr. Satyasish Rout, Mr. Rahul. K. Soni and Dr. C. Eswaraiah were champion in e-BTTD-2020 at NML, Dr Barsha Dash and Dr Shivkumar Angadi received IIM Bhubaneswar Chapter Award, Rahul Mitra, CSIR-SRF, won 3rd prize in INSA-DST-SERB photo competition- 'Science through My Eyes', Arya Jyoti Deo, CSIR-SRF received Young Researcher Award in IEEE conference. Apart from this, IMMT also awarded Skoch Governance Silver award for Design, Development and Dissemination of Improved Biomass Cook stoves, Second prize for Large Garden (Govt. Offices) in the Annual Garden Competition, Bhubaneswar in 2021.
Ten new scientists have been recruited in 2020 and nine of them have joined and placed in different departments of CSIR-IMMT and with their new knowledge, enthusiasm we expect bigger leap in institute R & D activities in the coming years. One executive engineer has joined in ESD with years of work experience in CESU.
In the R&D front some of the important activities that have been taken up by various departments are as follows: In Mineral Processing, Pilot-scale studies for reducing phosphorous content in iron ores from about 0.1% to below 0.05%, where Tata Sponge Iron is the possible taker of the technology. CSIR-IMMT has successfully developed reagent schemes to achieve 10-12% ash coal from 32% feed coal from both freshly mined and weathered or oxidized coal. IMMT has been assigned to generate lithium concentrate from Li-bearing ores and Li from secondary sources such as spent LIB. Spodumene samples from Amareshwar and Jharkhand mica mines are being investigated. CSIR-IMMT has signed an MoU with Tata Chemicals on Li resourcing. In HEM, Two projects have been sponsored by MIDHANI, Hyderabad to recover cobalt from superalloy scrap and impure Co hydroxide. CSIR-IMMT, being Nodal Lab along with CSIR-NML developed technology for producing LIB grade Electrolytic Manganese Dioxide (EMD) at MOIL and scale-up its plant capacity to 10000 TPA of EMD. The HEM department is presently working on the development of technology for extractive metallurgy of polymetallic nodules, one of the deep-sea mineral resources, supported by the Ministry of Earth Sciences. We will be continuing the work in the area of technology development for deep-sea minerals - PMN and PMS, in the coming 5 years. Extraction of REE from fly ash has been submitted to NTPC for setting up a pilot plant to generate the REE, as per NITI Aayog’s directive. Similarly, a proposal on holistic utilization of red mud for the extraction of metallic values, residue utilization and to recover REE values has been finalized to be jointly developed by a consortia of Aluminium Industries, NALCO, Vedanta, HINDALCO and R&D organizations, CSIR-NML, CSIR-IMMT and JNARDDC. An MoU to this effect has been signed on 31 March 2021 at CSIR-IMMT. In the area of advanced materials, development of light weight Al-Si-Mg aerospace/automotive components using additive manufacturing and powder metallurgy processes has been going on in AMT. The chromite overburden present at Sukinda Valley has 0.3 – 0.9 % Ni values along with Fe and Cr. A process has been developed and scaled up to 100 kg for making nickel bearing pig iron and chromium bearing pig iron from chromite overburden. A Process is being developed for Removal of CaO, SiO2, Al2O3 and MgO from Bag House Dust and SSP Sludge of JSL Plant. The Material chemistry department has taken up work for coating trials using High Velocity Oxy-fuel and Cold Spray. The optoelectronic group is working on intrinsic white light emitting materials such as Zn and Mg co-doped Sr2CeO4. Environment & Sustainability Department has undertaken a study on variation of atmospheric pollutants and active COVID-19 cases in Bhubaneswar before and during the imposition of Nation-wide Lockdown in India. They also worked on industrial effluents treatment by mixed consortia of electroactive bacteria; Fluoride recovery from Phosphate Fertiliser Industry using Coastal Molluscan Shells; Study on Carbon Dynamics in Estuaries and Near Shore Waters of Dhamra and Mahanadi; Chromite Mine-overburden revegetation at chromite mines of OMC at Sukinda etc.. Under Facility Creation Project (FCP) in the Centre of Excellence in Water Quality Assessment, equipments such as HPLC, GC-MS, ICP-OES, TOC, CHNS, FTIR & Ion Chromatograpgh were successfully installed. Design & Project Engineering Department successfully commissioned a state of the art “slurry pilot plant test loop facility” for hydraulic transportation of iron ores, which was funded by Ministry of Steel and NMDC Ltd – we have given design solution of NMDC pipeline at Nagarnar Plant. The department has provided the basic design engineering data for economical disposal of power plant ash at high solids concentration to NALCO, Damanjodi. The Process Modelling and Instrumentation Department has been recently renamed as Process Engineering and Instrumentation Department for better visibility. The department has developed a technology - “Expert-Eye-on-Pellet” which is a control system for automatic controlling of pelletization disc that has been transferred to SVNT Info Tech Pvt. Ltd, Hyderabad and the same is adopted by JSW Vidyanagar, Bellary. CFD modelling of simultaneous extraction and stripping of rare earth metals (La & Nd) in a hollow fiber supported liquid membrane has been developed and validated. Electrical impedance tomography based slurry pipeline monitoring system is being developed to monitor the slurry settling inside the pipeline. A new SEM-EDS system has been added to the Central Characterization Department. Two new major equipment namely, HR-TEM and SEM-EDS-EBSD system have been procured that are being installed. The central equipment facilities have been extensively used through the on-line booking system AnalytiCSIR by both internal people and external clients. Analysis worth Rs. 1.65 Cr have been done by CCD.
To encourage staff to take part of sports activities, IMMT took the responsibility of hosting A.P. Mitra Badminton and G.S Sidhu table tennis tournament during 11-14th March, 2021 jointly with CSIR-Sports Promotion Board (SPB), in which 9 organizations participated and made it a grand success.
Infrastructure development continued during COVID-19 pandemic period with the support of Engineering Services Department (ESD) and the meeting hall were renovated and renamed as S. S. Bhatnagar Hall. We are developing e-learning centre in the library. The building for Common Research and Technology Development Hub (CRTDH) to rejuvenate state MSMEs, funded by DSIR & CSIR, is functional. CSIR-IMMT team visited dokra, brass & bell metal sectors of Odisha in order to help them with S&T intervention and prepare a document of the traditional arts under TKDL.
At the end, I am delighted to share that IMMT performed well during inspection by the Committee of Parliament on Official Language on 12th January, 2021 and pledge to abide by the constitutional responsibility.
A webinar on “TERAFIL Water Filter: An Efficient Affordable and Sustainable Solution for Drinking Water” has been organized by CSIR on 22nd March 2021, on World Water Day, as a success story where many successful licensees shared their growth stories.
I once again sincerely thanks to the Scientists, Technical, Administrative Staff members and the students of IMMT, whose sincere and tireless effort made this COVID-19 pandemic difficult year to a successful time. I must acknowledge that CSIR HQ has been very supportive to the Lab – in all aspects. We all should strive to do our best to make India proud through research and development and reaching out to masses with our technology.
Thanking to all,
May God Bless You!
Prof. Suddhasatwa Basu
Director, CSIR-IMMT, Bhubaneswar