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Much less Water, Increased Yield: PAU’s Patented Hydroponics Tech

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Much less Water, Increased Yield: PAU’s Patented Hydroponics Tech

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Developed by Dr V P Sethi, head of the division of mechanical engineering at Punjab Agricultural College, the Hybrid Hydroponics Know-how combines each two varieties hydroponics programs to considerably cut back water wastage.

The Punjab Agricultural College (PAU) was not too long ago within the information for growing and patenting the primary indigenous Hybrid Hydroponic Know-how (HHT) developed by Dr V P Sethi, the pinnacle of the division of mechanical engineering of the school. He says this know-how might cut back water wastage by 90%. 

In a chat with The Higher India, Dr Sethi defined the advantages of the know-how, its applicability in real-time, and why there’s a want for such know-how sooner or later. 

With the altering atmosphere and international warming, the agricultural wants of an ever-growing inhabitants shall be exhausting to fulfill with our present know-how. Scientists and agriculturalists from throughout the globe have been researching sustainable methods of accelerating meals manufacturing.

“A know-how like HHT is required for a lot of causes. I’ve travelled throughout nations just like the US, Canada, Japan and seen scientists working exhausting to develop applied sciences for agricultural developments at dwelling. Nonetheless, India didn’t have [an indigenous] hydroponics know-how. Whereas there are startups which are utilizing hydroponics, they’re principally exported by Israel or Japan,” he notes. 

Rising the meals productiveness of India

A former pupil and a college college member, Dr Sethi has devoted practically three a long time of his life to researching and growing sustainable applied sciences. 

The technology claims to save 90 percent of water through recirculation mode.
The know-how claims to save lots of 90 p.c of water by recirculation mode. Image credit score: V P Sethi

“After spending 5 years on analysis and improvement with a really small staff of students and scientists from the Division of Botany, Chemistry, Soil and Vegetable Sciences, I used to be capable of crack the code. Utilizing HHT helps in improved water and nutrient perforation and re-circulation programs for pot-based substrate hydroponics,” he notes. 

Born in 1968 in Ludhiana, Punjab, Dr Sethi did his bachelor’s in Agriculture Engineering and his grasp’s in Mechanical Engineering. It was throughout his postdoctoral fellowship within the US that Dr Sethi met with a Korean professor Dr Chiwong Lee, who labored within the subject of growing hydroponics. 

“He was engaged on the assorted substrates that can be utilized in hydroponics and located it very intriguing. I made a decision to return again to India and develop our personal hydroponics system. I returned to the college and instructed them about my thought of growing a Hybrid Hydroponics system,” he says. 

It took Dr Sethi practically 5 years to totally develop the HHT system and develop greens utilizing it, and one other 5 to get the patent rights, which he and PAU acquired in November 2021. 

What’s HHT and the way does it work? 

There are two kinds of hydroponics — water-based and substrate-based. Dr Sethi’s hybrid know-how merges the 2 to make use of the most effective of each applied sciences. 

“With seed cash of Rs 5,00,000 from the college, I began my analysis on growing the know-how. We developed a small greenhouse with a capability of 250 vegetation. It took me practically two years to totally develop the know-how and I examined it for one more three years earlier than making use of for a patent proper,” he says. 

The know-how took a couple of hits and misses to develop into what it’s right now, notes Dr Sethi. Whereas the idea of soil-less farming isn’t unknown to us, what he observed was that the know-how makes use of water from reservoirs and passes it to the pots. 

“The water that was not taken by the vegetation would go to waste.” 

“In Hybrid Hydroponics Know-how, we save this water by utilizing the strategy of recirculation. We developed a porous plate between the pots. The decrease a part of the pot accommodates the shallow water pond and the higher a part of the pot carries the substrate. The plate between the 2 is the innovation because it carries equal strain at each the higher and decrease finish of the pot.”

This permits the roots to breathe and develop, and from the highest, they’d get ample oxygen. 

“Within the recirculation mode, we might save about 90% water as we don’t enable even a drop to go to waste,” he informs. 

It took five years of research for Dr Sethi to develop the technology.
Dr Sethi developed India’s Hybrid Hydroponics Know-how. Image credit score: V P Sethi

Dr Sethi additionally sprays the required minerals and vitamins on the vegetation to make sure that the fruit is the most effective in high quality. “The newly-developed know-how underwent a rigorous two-year testing part by cultivating cucumber, tomato, and capsicum crops. Via this experimentation, it was established that the know-how accelerated development and yielded greater produce in comparison with prevalent pot-based programs just like the bato bucket (impressed by Dutch know-how) and develop bag-based programs (non-recirculation kind, impressed by Israeli know-how) within the realm of soilless cultivation,” he provides. 

“The strategy isn’t labour intensive like conventional farming as it’s totally computerized. We’ve got timers which are set prematurely that present and sprinkle required vitamins based on the plant’s necessities.” 

Making it accessible for native farmers

There have been a couple of arguments that Dr Sethi introduced on the necessity for such a know-how in India. 

“An important purpose is that there’s a lot of barren land in India that can be utilized for this function. In addition to, this know-how permits farmers and gardeners to develop meals wherever — from a closed room to a small terrace,” he explains. 

“This may also generate employment within the nation. Proper from a homemaker with a spare room in her home to an unemployed youth, anybody can simply use the know-how to develop vegetation with a little bit coaching. They’ll devour it and promote the surplus out there,” he says. 

One more reason why Dr Sethi thinks the know-how is essential is that it saves water. “Within the recirculation mode, with using HHT, we are able to save about 60 to 90% water relying on the plant,” he says. 

As for making it accessible to the native farmers, he says that there are plans underway. 

Using HHT, the university has grown vegetables like tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and capsicum
Utilizing HHT, the college has grown greens like tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and capsicum. Image credit score: V Ok Sethi

“There are various industries of hydroponics in India, however most of them import it from both Israel or China. This will increase the price. What we’ve created saves the price by thrice. If the price is much less, the know-how mechanically turns into extra accessible. We’re additionally within the course of of constructing a guide for farmers and different customers, and are additionally open to promoting its business rights to the trade to make it extra accessible,” he provides.

“I’ve travelled the world over and have seen farmers utilizing completely different progressive applied sciences to develop meals. However this know-how of merging substrate and water-based isn’t accessible wherever on this planet. I really feel very proud that I used to be capable of develop it and we name it swadeshi (made in India).” 

“India is a rustic of small land holdings and the know-how is very designed to accommodate small-scale farmers. Our motto is to give attention to “sabka vikas” (improvement for all) and this know-how does the identical.” 

(Edited by Padmashree Pande)



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