Process Description


Water holds just 4 BTLC ( billion ton of living carbon)  yet respiration flux from water is 50BTC/yr corresponding to 500 kJ per gLC ( gram living carbon)  per year for aerobic respiration. Land holds 650 BTLC with a respiration flux of 50 BTC/yr  corresponding to 2.5 kJ per g LC per year. The great reduction in energy for life on land is due to oxygen diffusion coefficient in air  1000 times that in water 10(-9) sqm/s. It follows that size of organisms of land is much larger requiring less energy for life in contrast  to small sizes required for  floating organisms of water .Life may have begun in water but thermodynamics  has pushed life away from water onto land and in favour of larger and larger sizes.


Water is a near biological desert with limited oxygen supply. Algal photosynthetic oxygen is for the 4 BTC aquatic life ; long food chain, low standing crop, no death are the features of natural waters .Death is not seen in water ; not to be seen in water means that dead organics of human activities cannot go into water.   But due to variety of reasons , waste disposal  is into water and there are several instances of collapse of algal oxygen supplies in water bodies. In contrast soil alone holds 1500BTC dead organics and has the oxygen to process the dead organics energy for soil plant production.; so dead organics  of human activities should go to soil and not water.


GCC reveals 60 BTC/yr of litter decomposition. In comparison  global  fossil energy consumption is 6 BTC/yr .There is so much energy in litter that  we can recover   in ways consistent with  GCC . We face  huge quantities of soil  loss due to variety of  forces natural and human endangering food & livelihood security. Soil is a product of weathering; presently  1-2  BTC /yr of GCC is naturally directed to soil production. By combing locally litter and  primary minerals of suitably small  particle size   huge quantities of soil can be produced ; and   immense benefits await such mass production of soil. Available evidence reveal  biomass productions from such rich soils several times the overworked soils of commercial farming .


GNC ( global nitrogen cycle)reveals generation of 400MTIN/yr( million ton inorganic nitrogen) from combustion and fertilizer processes as against 126 MTN/yr of  azoN via  fixation showing huge distubance to GNC. The decomposition of agrochemicals such as urea ,ammonia  produce acidity ; and also give N in its highly oxidised states leaching into water  causing vegetative growth in waters. Such nitrogen rich and energy deficient environments show abundance of  pests and insects .The way to control pests is to prevent such acidity  by providing  in soil primary minerals for pH regulation and organics as energy for  removal of N overloads via pathways of soil .



Respiration, mineral weathering and photosynthesis are fundamental reactions that sustain life on this planet. And in SBT we build technology in the light of GCs.


SBT media is formulated from local primary minerals  ; geophagus worms regulate bacterial population as top carnivores of a forest. Additives also formulated from primary minerals serve to regulate pH. Suitable bacterial cultures are incorporated to take care of industrial chemicals. Photosynthesis provides the micro environment .


SBT work at IIT B commenced in 1987 through initial  support of  Rs. 9 lakhs ($30000) from DBT and subsequently sustained largely through IIT B resources and through setting up such activities for users. SBT is now covered by one US patent admitted, one US product patent awaited and  and two Indian patents pending.


SBT is a bioengine  for supplying oxygen. So applicable  for water & air, soil & sanitation segments. No moving parts, no bio-sludge for disposal , superior space & energy & cost intensity , evergreen ambience, applicable for small & large  are the  features. In waste  water purification respiration  serves to remove oxygen demand, mineral weathering regulates pH and photosynthesis provides the micro habitat & the aesthetics to recover water. In SBT Arsenic (III) is oxidized to Arsenic(V) which is precipitated along with iron in a separate tank and thus effecting arsenic removal.  In agriculture & soil production  respiration serves to supply energy for soil processes, primary minerals regulate pH while photosynthesis draws the dissolved minerals from soil for plant production .


Oxygen transfer  in SBT is typically 0.01- 0.005/s ; such high values usually obtained only via much power consumption ; however in SBT are obtained  naturally.


The flow field varies from near mixed flow for short beds to near plug flow for deep beds. Hydrualic loads of  0.5 cum/sqm day is typical although upto 2 cum/sqm can be obtained.  Organic loading of 0.2 kg/sqm day is typical although upto 0.5 kg/sqm day is achieved. Mesophylic life of SBT facility can be open to atmosphere in warm climes, with closures & temperature control in cold climes and multiple levels for space limiting environments.,


SBT consists of 2 tanks ( one for raw water and the other for treated water) of volume one days holdup on either side of a bioreactor sized suitably for the load. The raw water is distributed through pipes. In one pass the purification occurs. So there is just one feed pump which runs the whole process. Energy consumption for sewage is 0.03 kWh/cum  compared to 0.3 kWh/cum or more in activated sludge. Similarly for applications .


One hectare can purify a) 5.0 MLD  of sewage to Class A primary water quality, b) 5 MLD of drinking water  and additionally   remove arsenic &  iron , reduce  bacterial levels by 7-8  log orders. Similarly process 30 ton/d organic municipal solids  to rich soil in a 3 hectare evergreen farm.


SBT environment cannot handle salinity > 2000 micromhos/cm or 1500 mg/L salts. Many plants have been set up.  Failures are due to overloading only.  SBT requires good soil husbandry to ensure that overloads are prevented.  Plants set up in 1997 still run without overhaul.


SBT is a civil intensive technology; a 3 MLD sewage plant to give Class A primary water quality  involves Rs 3 Cr( $600 K) and recurring Rs 3/kL ( $0.06/kL) and construction may take 8 months.It works economically for smaller scales and can be fitted to variety of site contours. The capital costs seem 30 % higher but recurring costs 80% lower ; and so gives less than 4 yr payback  due to very long life evergreen soil process. So a large city with 2000 MLD waste water can be served quickly  by contracting suitably.



SBT applications are  also in i) storm water & sewage purification for ground water recharge, ii) drinking water purification including arsenic and iron removal iii)  non chemical purification of swimming pools, iv) hospital waste processing for disposal, v) air purification


Evidence of Adoption:


Large number of projects , workshops for users have been conducted. Indeed the resources required for the developmental work came largely through setting up activities for users. The impact of the technology is very significant as seen from the activities completed. Today SBT is seen as a competitive very low operating cost evergreen very long life alternative. GOI federal& states are  the major customers; in recognition of the potentials several workshops have been funded by GOI.The demand for the product is growing rapidly in view of the  benefits. PLs see list below.  Note lakh means 1,00,000.


*Vermiculture Bioconversion of Solid Residue:  Sponsored Project, Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi, April 1988 – March 1992; completed (Rs. 9.08 Lakh).


*Waste Management via Vermiculture:  Sponsored Project Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mumbai, 1991-95, completed (Rs. 7.5 Lakh).


*Bureau of Industrial Costs and Prices, Ministry of Industry Government of India, Consultant Fermentation Antibiotics – Cost Price Study, February 1989 – February 1991 (Rs. 1.0 Lakh) completed.


*Colour Chemicals Ltd. (Subsidiary Hoechst India), 400 kg/d canteen Waste Process Plant inclusive of supply of culture and Design and Commissioning, January 1993 – January 1994 (Rs. 0.50 Lakh), completed


*Larsen and Toubro Ltd., Awarpur Cement, Canteen Waste Process Plant.  200 kg/d inclusive of supply of culture and Design and Commissioning Works, July 93 – June 94 (Rs. 0.8 Lakhs), completed


*Kamshet Agro Ltd. 40 ton/yr agricultural, animal, hotel residues/wastes Process Plant inclusive of supply of culture and Design and Commissioning, completed June 94 (Rs. 0.5 Lakh), completed


*Bombay Municipal Corporation 100 ton/d, Market Waste Process Plant inclusive of supply of culture and Design and Commissioning, May 1993 – June 1995, (Rs. 3.4 Lakh), completed


*Kamshet Agro Ltd. 200 ton/yr, Agricultural, animal, hotel wastes and risidues, Process Plant inclusive of supply of culture and Design and Commissioning, September 1995 – September 1996 (Rs. 1.70 Lakh).,completed


*Bombay Presidency Golf Club Ltd., Bombay 500 ton/yr Agreiresidues residue Process Plant inclusive of supply of culture and Design and Commissioning, May 1996 – November 1996 (Rs. 3.75 Lakh).. completed


*Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, Canteen Waste Process Technology, inclusive of supply of culture and Design and Commissioning 100 kg/d, May 94 – September 1994 (Rs. 1.1 Lakh),completed


*Indira Gandhi Institute for Development Research, 25 cum./d Waste Water Purification in Vermifilters inclusive of supply of culture and Design and Commissioning, December 1996 (Rs. 1.0 Lakh) completed.


*Bombay Presidency Golf Club Ltd., Bombay, 120 cum./d process plant for Sewage water purification in vermifilters including supply of culture and Design and Commissioning, December 1996 (Rs. 5.5 Lakh) completed.


*All India Council for Technical Education, New Delhi, Waste water purification in biofilters, sponsored project towards setting up laboratory facilities for studies in vermicultured biofilters, April 1996 – March 1998 (Rs. 10.0 Lakh) , completed


*Naval Dockyard, Bombay 10m3/d waste water purification in cultured and planted soil filtors, July 1999 (Rs. 1.0  Lakh) completed.


*Kamshet Agro: Water Conservation, July 2000 (Rs. 0.51 Lakh) completed.


*Naval Dockyard, Bombay:  50 m3/d sewage purification in cultured and planted Biofilter.  ,1999-2000 (Rs. 1.75 Lakh).,completed


*Lakshmi Pulp and Paper Mills, Mumbai:  300 m3/d land treatment of waste water; July 2001 onwards.  (Rs. 0.29 Lakh).


*Workshop on Solid waste Management  UNICEF & Govt of  Maharashtra Nov         1997,completed


*Workshop on Solid waste Mangemnent Ministry of Urban Affairs New Delhi Nov 1998,completed


*Bombay Presidency Golf Club Ltd, Bombay, 500 kL/d sewage purification plant , 2001-02 ,Rs 3.26 Lakhs,completed


*Naval Dockyard Mumbai  50 kL/d sewage purification Rs 3.89 lakhs, 2002-03,completed


*Dairy Development Corporation Govt of  Maharashtra , Dairy waste water purification,    2002-03 ,Rs 3.9 lakhs


*Naval Dockyard , Mumbai, Solid waste management, 2001-02 Rs (Rs12000) ,completed


*Nitrogen Control in waste water, Onenature Bombay  2001- 02 ,Rs 1.64 lakhs (sponsored project) completed


*3 MLD Sewage purification plant Lovegrove pumping station, Bombay Municipal Corporation, Onenature Bombay, Rs 28.3 Lakhs ( only Rs9.5 Lakhs received ), 2004-05.


*Sewage purification 270 kL/day     Lifelink, Bombay, 2003-04 , Rs 1.5 Lakhs, completed


*Sewage purification 120 kL/day, Vision Earthcare Pvt Ltd ( incubatee SINE IIT Bombay),Rs 1.5 lakhs, 2005-06 , completed


*Workshop on Soil Biotechnology July 2002 for Water Supply& Sewerage Board, Govt of Gujarat & UNICEF, Gandhinagar, Rs 1.8 Lakhs, completed


 *Workshop on Soil Biotechnology June 2002  for  UNICEF &Gov of Maharahtra, Bombay Rs 1.8 Lakhs,completed



Patent Documentation


*Process for Treatment of Organic Wastes *US Patent No: 6890438" Process for treatment of organic wastes" H.S.Shankar,B.R.Patnaik, U.S.Bhawalkar, issued 10 May 2005


A process for conversion of organic wastes into biofertlizers such as soil conditioning agents of fertilizer grade,culture grade,soil grade is provided.Also provided is a process for conversion of organic wastes into material for converting waste water into reusable water. Invention provdes methods for conversion of organic solid wastes to biofertlizers and reusable water in the presence of a geophagus earthworm Pheretima elongata culture to produce a variety of valuable soil conditioning products and reusable water.


*US Product patent: awaited

*”Process for treatment of Organic  residues" India Patent Application MUM/384/26 April 2002, H.S.Shankar, B.R.Patnaik,U.S.Bhawalkar

*"Processfor treatment  of waste water" India Patent Applicaion MUM/383/26 April 2002, H.S.Shankar,B.R.Patnaik,U.S.Bhawalkar.