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Model solar salt farm to come up in Gujarat

According to reports, a model solar farm will be established in Gujarat based on the internationally patented technology of Central Salt Marine & Chemical Research Institute (CSMCRI) to manufacture export-grade high purity salt.

“A model farm will be set up in cooperation with the Gujarat government on 10-20 acres of land having a scientific design and layout suitable for a solar salt works,” Dr Pushpito Ghosh, Director CSMCRI, told PTI.

“Our internationally patented technology will be used at this farm to manufacture over 99 percent NaCl (Sodium Chloride) purity salt,” he said.

The cost effective farm model shall be a boon for small salt producers, who cannot afford research. It would demonstrate how effectively high purity salt can be obtained, with virtually no environmental hazard, and would help facilitate salt cluster development, Ghosh said.

A proposal for setting up a model solar salt farm has been sent to Gujarat government. The farm is expected to come up by March next year.

It is essential to tell industry about effective brine management practices and way on how to produce high purity export grade salt both from sea and underground water without compromising on yield, Dr V P Mohandas, Sr Principal Scientist CSMCRI, said.

The proposed model farm would aptly demonstrate it, he said.

Perfecting brine chemistry to obtain high purity salt through solar evaporation, shall be technological highlight of this farm, he said.

Gujarat annually produces around 15 million tonnes of salt. Amongst the largest salt producing states in India, it accounts for 73 percent of total India’s salt production.

The technology used at farm was internationally patented as a cost effective process for making high purity solar salt, Mohandas said.

“We also plan to explore the possibilities to introduce mechanisation for salt harvesting in such model farms as labour problems have hit the industry,” he said.

The high purity product offered from this farm to industry (Chlor Alkali industry) can potentially reduce the brine purification cost by half for them and it shall have very minimal levels of impurity, Mohandas claimed.

The salt for industrial purposes is largely prepared through solar evaporation technique, but the drawback is that it has a large quantum flux (impurities) detrimental for environment.

India produces close to 21 MT of salt annually, out of which nearly 60 percent goes for industrial applications, industry experts said.

Around 2-3 percent of India’s total salt production is presently being exported, they said

“If we have to export salt to countries like Japan then its purity and quality levels has to be of very high standards,” Mohandas said.

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