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Posted at: Nov 7, 2018, 12:36 AM; last updated: Nov 7, 2018, 12:36 AM (IST)

Now, pine needles to be used as fuel, thanks to IIT-Mandi

Now, pine needles to be used as fuel, thanks to IIT-Mandi
The IIT- Mandi (pic)has developed a technique for eco-friendly use of pine needles to save forests from fires.

Dipender Manta

Tribune News Service

Mandi, November 6

IIT-Mandi is planning to make eco-friendly use of pine needle for social benefits. The pine needles are non-biodegradable and highly inflammable in nature. The IIT- Mandi has developed a technique for eco-friendly utilisation of these needles which is a low-cost procedure.

Doctor Arti Kashyap, Principal Project Investigator, Centre for Uplifting Himalayan Livelihood at IIT-Mandi, said due to non-bio-degradable and highly-inflammable nature, pine needles pose a major threat to the environment, forest biodiversity and local economy in the entire Himalayan region.

She said the Centre for Innovative Technology for the Himalayan Region at IIT-Mandi is working to save forests from forest fire caused by dry pine needles for the last three years. Now it has successfully prepared briquettes and pellets from pure pine needles mixing these with other biomasses.

“These briquettes provide more heat at a low cost and are less harmful to the environment in comparison to wood or coal. In many small and large scale industries, the briquettes can be used as a fuel in place of wood and coal. It can also be used to cook even food”, she remarked.

“The centre has set up its own briquette and pellet production plant on the IIT-Mandi campus. The Government of Himachal Pradesh has announced a subsidy of 50 per cent up to 25 lakh for one unit on capital expense for a pine needle-based plant. This assistance can be obtained by giving a letter in the office of the Regional Forest Officer”, she added.

“We organized a workshop recently at IIT-Mandi along with forest department officials to work together on the issue and encourage people to set up pine needle based industry”, she said.

She said that saving forests and preserving the environment was not a responsibility of a single entity. Rather, it required a combined effort from the society, government and technical expertise from institutes like IIT. The Himachal Pradesh Government had not only announced subsidy but was also ready to help in the collection of pine needle from forest area for the purpose.

SS Kashyap, Divisional Forest Officer, Mandi, said the department would give its best so that those desirous can avail of this facility from the government and more pine needle based industries were set up.

About pine needles

  • Pine needles are non-biodegradable and highly inflammable in nature 
  • Needles pose a major threat to the environment, forest biodiversity and local economy in the entire Himalayan region
  • IIT-Mandi is working to save forests from forest fire caused by dry pine needles for the last three years.

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