Research Labs of the Centre

Bio-diesel Lab

GITAM has recently established a state-of-the-art pilot bio-diesel unit for the purpose of research and development and production of bio-diesel.

  • To analyze some of the potential non-edible oils and test of bio-diesel from various feedstocks and generate comparative data on fuel composition, emissions and material compatibility.
  • To standardize bio-diesel production technology by perfecting an efficient chemical/catalyst conversion process and to study techno-economic feasibility.
  • To study the utilization of bio-diesel as fuel.
  • To study the blending of esters and diesel.
  • To study storage conditions and handling of bio-diesel.
  • To study the engine oil formulations to minimize the effect of dilution with bio-diesel.
  • Step-I: Seed decorticator is used to separate the kernel from the seed. The separated kernels are then passed on to the seed crusher.
  • Step-II: Seed expeller: The kernels get steamed and crushed in the seed expeller to get crude oil. Filter Press: The crude oil is then passed through the oil filter to filter at required density.
  • Step-III: Transesterification: The oil from the expeller is then transesterified through the machine to produce bio-diesel. Tree borne non-edible oils can be converted into methyl ester (Bio-diesel) by the process of transesterification.

GITAM is planning to take the bio-diesel technology to the rural areas, keeping in view the progress and economic freedom it can bring. In fact, the GITAM is developing a strategy to extend several other technologies useful to the rural population so as to bring about the integrated development of the villages and its inhabitants and in-turn hastening economic prosperity. Some of the proposed laboratories are:

Bio-Ethanol Lab:

Ethyl alcohol (ethanol, commonly termed as alcohol) is close to being a perfect fuel because of low molecular weight, high oxygen content, high combustion efficiency, and non-toxic and non-polluting nature.

It is also a renewable raw material from varied saccharine and starchy substances. A motor fuel blended with ethanol does not use tetraethyl lead as oxygenate and there are also no sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide particulate and nitrous oxide particulate emissions. Moreover, the hydrocarbon emissions are not carcinogenic and carbon dioxide emissions are 57% lower than those with petrol.

The raw material used for producing ethanol could be sugar (in Brazil), cereals (in the USA), sugar beet (in Europe), and molasses (in India). Brazil uses ethanol as 100% fuel in about 20% of vehicles and 25% blend in Sweden. Australia uses 10% ethanol gasoline blend and EU uses 15% ethanol blended gasoline. In India, bio-ethanol is produced from a vast array of raw materials.

  • Sweet plants such as sugarcane, sugar beet, sweet sorghum, fruits, mahua flowers, etc.
  • Starchy plants and cereals such as potato, sweet potato, cassava (tapioca), rice, millets, maize, milo, wheat, etc.
  • Cellulosic biomass such as bagasse, cane trash and cane tops, crop residues, etc.
Phytopharmaceutical Lab:

This laboratory carries out experiments for extraction of compounds from medicinal plants which are useful in treating various diseases. India has a rich diversity of medicinal plants. The supply base of 90% herbal raw drugs used in the manufacture of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy systems of medicine is largely from the wild. This wild source is speedily shrinking day-by-day. Therefore, there is a need for conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants. Cultivation is clearly a sustainable alternative to the present collection of medicinal plants from the wild. This can be a potential provider of returns to the farmers.

This laboratory will explore the potential of medicinal plants in and around Visakhapatnam and suggest measures for their conservation and propagation by tissue culture methods. This Phytopharmaceutical Lab 29 will be useful to the farmers in enhancing and cultivation of medicinal plants and extraction of valuable compounds from the cultivated plants.

Renewable Energy Lab:

Andhra Pradesh is very rich in natural resources and it has got all the advantages to develop the renewable energy power projects like biomass, solar, wind, mini-hydro, and cogeneration in sugar factories. Renewable energy is cheaper than any conventional energy. Fossil fuels cannot be conserved for the longer period through the majority of the power generation is from fossil fuels. For example, wind energy is the kinetic energy associated with the movement of atmospheric air. Wind turbines transform the energy in the wind into mechanical power, which can then be used directly for grinding etc. or further converting to electric power to generate electricity. Wind turbines can be used singly or in clusters called ‘wind farms’. Small wind turbines called aero-generators can be used to charge large batteries.

The advantage of biomass power plant is that it can be established anywhere and can give firm power throughout the year. Sufficient biomass is available in our state to generate power.

All projects of renewable energy are eco-friendly. Rural employment can be substantially created through these power plants.

Solar Energy Lab:

The sun is the eternal energy source that sustains and links all life on earth. India is a tropical country, where sunshine is available for longer hours per day and in great intensity. Solar energy, therefore, has great potential as a future energy source.

The centre will develop technologies and know-how about generation of solar energy and help the farmers to set up solar energy plants in villages for water heating, drying of agricultural and food products, distillation of water, detoxification of wastes, solar lights, solar pumps, solar power plants for villages etc., thereby empowering people at the grassroots level.

GITAM will pool it's scientific, technical and managerial talents, to develop solar energy as a source of abundant energy to power our economy and to transform the lives of our rural people and the solar energy lab of GITAM will play a pivotal role in this regard.

Plant Tissue Culture Lab:

Plant tissue culture is a practice used to propagate plants under sterile conditions, often to produce clones of a plant. Different techniques in plant tissue culture may offer certain advantages over traditional methods of propagation. Micropropagation is widely used in forestry and in floriculture and also to conserve rare or endangered plant species. Certain techniques such as meristem tip culture can be used to produce clean plant material from infected stock, such as potatoes and many species of soft fruit.

Knowledge Resource Centre:

Village resource centre is a network consisting of a few villages with computers, printers, telephones, very high frequency (VHF)devices, duplex radio devices and other accessories.

The village resource centre will function on the ‘hub and spokes’ model. Services provided by this centre would generally include information on government schemes/ training, employment opportunities, weather forecast, health & hygiene, as well as information on market rates of products like paddy, vegetables, gold, and silver. The project offers great scope for skill development and many rural people, especially the youth can be exposed to computer applications. This knowledge resource centre will not only produce many computer literates but also enable them to get employment with the training they get at the centre.

The Centre for Integrated Rural Development and its laboratories function in collaboration with M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation, Shirdi Foundation and other reputed NGOs which help the farmers who are interested in availing the above facilities by transferring their expertise.