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

The Punjab Agricultural College (PAU) was lately within the information for creating and patenting the primary indigenous Hybrid Hydroponic Expertise (HHT) developed by Dr V P Sethi, the top of the division of mechanical engineering of the school. He says this expertise may cut back water wastage by 90%. 

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

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

“A expertise 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 house. Nonetheless, India didn’t have [an indigenous] hydroponics expertise. Whereas there are startups which can be utilizing hydroponics, they’re largely 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 many years of his life to researching and creating sustainable applied sciences. 

The technology claims to save 90 percent of water through recirculation mode.
The expertise claims to save lots of 90 % of water via recirculation mode. Image credit score: V P Sethi

“After spending 5 years on analysis and improvement with a really small crew of students and scientists from the Division of Botany, Chemistry, Soil and Vegetable Sciences, I used to be in a position to 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 area of creating hydroponics. 

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

It took Dr Sethi practically 5 years to completely 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 forms of hydroponics — water-based and substrate-based. Dr Sethi’s hybrid expertise merges the 2 to make use of the very best of each applied sciences. 

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

The expertise took a couple of hits and misses to change into what it’s at the moment, notes Dr Sethi. Whereas the idea of soil-less farming just isn’t unknown to us, what he seen was that the expertise 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 Expertise, we save this water through the use of the strategy of recirculation. We developed a porous plate between the pots. The decrease a part of the pot comprises 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 might get ample oxygen. 

“Within the recirculation mode, we may 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 Expertise. 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 very best in high quality. “The newly-developed expertise underwent a rigorous two-year testing part by cultivating cucumber, tomato, and capsicum crops. Via this experimentation, it was established that the expertise accelerated progress and yielded increased produce in comparison with prevalent pot-based programs just like the bato bucket (impressed by Dutch expertise) and develop bag-based programs (non-recirculation kind, impressed by Israeli expertise) within the realm of soilless cultivation,” he provides. 

“The tactic just isn’t labour intensive like conventional farming as it’s totally computerized. We now have timers which can be set prematurely that present and sprinkle required vitamins in line with 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 expertise in India. 

“A very powerful purpose is that there’s a lot of barren land in India that can be utilized for this function. Apart from, this expertise permits farmers and gardeners to develop meals anyplace — 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 expertise to develop vegetation with a little bit coaching. They will devour it and promote the surplus out there,” he says. 

One more reason why Dr Sethi thinks the expertise is essential is that it saves water. “Within the recirculation mode, with using HHT, we will 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 fee. What we have now created saves the fee by thrice. If the fee is much less, the expertise robotically 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 internationally and have seen farmers utilizing totally different progressive applied sciences to develop meals. However this expertise of merging substrate and water-based just isn’t accessible anyplace on the earth. I really feel very proud that I used to be in a position to develop it and we name it swadeshi (made in India).” 

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

(Edited by Padmashree Pande)


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