Science and Technology

Bio urea to slash subsidy bill

| Updated on April 13, 2021

IIT (BHU) professor has devised a ‘thermally-accelerated anaerobic digestion’ (TAD) reactor that can produce hydrogen and bio urea from agri residues

To slash the government’s urea subsidy bill (₹54,755 crore in 2019-20) we have to produce the fertilizer cheap. But how? Using biomass, says Prof Preetam Singh of IIT (BHU), who has devised a ‘thermally-accelerated anaerobic digestion’ (TAD) reactor, to produce hydrogen and bio urea from agri residues. TAD can produce bio urea for ₹15-20 a kg, slightly cheaper than imported urea but way cheaper than indigenously produced urea at around ₹27 a kg. Also, domestic urea uses up the precious little natural gas that India has, needed to produce electricity. The TAD reactor, under controlled temperature and pressure, converts one kg of biomass into 30-40 g of hydrogen, 140-170 gm of methane (natural gas), 28-30 g of bio-coal, 40-42 g of carbon dioxide and a little bio tar. It can process 1.5-2 tonnes of biomass in a single operation. The exhaust contains hydrogen, methane, carbon dioxide and carbon particulates. The carbon particulates and carbon dioxide are scrubbed off to get hydrogen and methane. Now, hydrogen, methane and nitrogen (in air) are what you need to make urea. Singh says many companies, including fertilizer major KRIBHCO, are in talks with him to set up bio urea plants.

Published on April 11, 2021

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