"Recent Advancements in Ocean Technology in India - Societal Benefits"
Oceans, with an estimated asset value of about US$ 24trillion are a promising strategic frontier for economic growth, water and food security. At NIOT we have demonstrated multiple technological capabilities over the past 25 years. Significant achievements have been made in the ocean desalination domain with 3 plants of 100 m3/day capacity operating in the 3 Islands in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep based on Low Temperature Thermal Desalination technology. The plants which are operating over a decade and will be installed in 6 more islands of India, including a combined OTEC-Desalination plant in the Kavaretti Island. The demonstration of electricity generation using marine current turbines and the offshore wind energy assessment work using platforms is in progress.
India has launched Deep Ocean Mission (DOM) program which will significantly augment the blue resource potential exploration and exploitation in the Indian oceans. Development of technologies for the exploration and exploitation of deep ocean minerals and the use of the deep water ROV ROSUB6000 at 5km water depths and the Polar grade ROV in the Antarctic for multiple scientific expeditions, and recent commercialization through transfer of technology shows the capacity built in this domain. The Institute is now developing a 6000m depth rated 3 crew scientific manned submersible for deep ocean mining technology by pumping polymetallic nodules from this depth. NIOT is the first point in the chain of ocean observations in India and has made remarkable imprints in the operational forecasting. We have a well defined policy of data sharing and these data sets are used for modeling and prediction. Indigenization of the buoy systems, state of the data reception centre, transfer of data buoy technology to the industry, training offered to neighboring countries, and collaboration with US on observations are remarkable contribution to the national and international levels.
Development of marine sensors, electronics and acoustic systems are vital for monitoring the ocean environment. Many products in this area including the Autonomous Underwater Profiling Drifter, Drifter buoy Pradyu, Buried Object Scanning Sonar (BOSS) and Autonomous passive acoustic monitoring system. The shoreline protection and management activities and beach restoration projects have attracted significant attention. NIOT also makes societal contributions in the area of marine biotechnology, by demonstrating open sea cage culture and transferring the same to the fishing community. It also has a fleet of vessels used for all the scientific and technology demonstration activities.
R. Venkatesan is a Fulbright Awardee and visiting Scholar at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts MASS Dartmouth USA and is working as a Senior Scientist and Program Director at the National Institute of Ocean Technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, India, and served under the UNEP Regional Seas Programme. He received an M.Tech. From Karnataka Regional Engineering College and a Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Science, India, and completed PG Diploma courses in marine environmental pollution and management and maritime Law and having 37 years of experience. He is working on ocean observations and is also teaching ocean policy and ocean observation tools, as an adjunct faculty in three IITs. He is serving as a member of Government body for Coastal developmental projects Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Authority. He is honored to have received eighteen awards including the National Award for Ocean Science & Technology, from Ministry of Earth Sciences, UN Outstanding services certificate, MTS Lockheed Martin Award (first Indian to receive in Alaska USA) and Guinness World Record on Largest Biology class National Geoscience Award and to received MTS Fellow award at Seattle. His international responsibilities include Chairman of Global Regional Alliance of GOOS of UNESCO IOC Paris and served as a member of the Steering Committee of United Nations committees such as GOOS/ UNESCO/IOC, DOOS, and OceanSITES, SMART Cables; Country Focal Point for JTA, JCOMM, National Marine Services focal point for WMO Geneva, the chair of the International Tsunameter Partnership and also to the professional bodies such as IEEE, Institution of Engineers and the founding Chairman of MTS India. He has to his credit two patents awarded and 4 patents filed, 120 research papers in referred journals, 250 invited lectures 145 papers in seminars and member of editorial board of 3 international Journals and editor of 3 books and has a project assessment of marine plastics. He shows interest in supporting students and has delivered lectures in Schools and Colleges and appeared on TV, Radio, and conducted Student Underwater AUV competition and winning student team is sent to RoboSub San Diego USA.