Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Bhavnagar YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Bhavnagar | CSIR Labs | VVM

Salt Sources in India:

3500-mile coastline

Inland source in Rajasthan & Little Rann of Kutch

Rock salt mines in Mandi

  • With a coastline of about 3,500 miles, inland sources in Rajasthan and Little Rann of Kutch, and the rock salt mines in Mandi, India have possibilities of attaining a high position in salt production among the salt producing countries of the world. As is known, apart from being an indispensable item of food, salt is an important raw material for the manufacture of several heavy chemicals e. g. , soda ash, caustic soda and chlorine. Besides, salt is used in food processing industries, such as fish curing, meat packing, dairy products and fruit and vegetable canning.
  • India had been an importer of salt for a long time as her own production was not sufficient to meet the demand. The position deteriorated further after partition, when the extensive rock salt deposits in the Punjab and the marine salt works in Sind went to Pakistan. Soon after the attainment of independence in 1947, India was faced with the problem of meeting the acute shortage of edible salt in various parts of the country. The Government set up an inter­departmental committee under the chairmanship of Shri H. M. Patel, who was then the Cabinet Secretary, to examine and report on the measures for overcoming the shortage of salt. The committee submitted several short-term proposals to the Government and also recommended that a Salt Expert Committee should be appointed to investigate into the problems relating to the production, quality and utilization of salt.
  • The need for salt research was recognized by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) , New Delhi as early as 1940, when, at the instance of Dr. S. S. Bhatnagar, a Salt Research Committee was established to formulate a programme of research on the production and utilization of salt. This Committee was later amalgamated with the Heavy Chemicals Committee and revived in July 1948 with Dr. Mata Prasad as the Chairman.
Rock Salt Mines in Mandi
  • 1951 – research on marine salt, and salt from inland lakes and sub-soil brine. It was suggested that the Institute be located at some centre in Saurashtra; the Ministry of Works, Production and Supply would support any proposal for a grant from the Salt Development Cess for setting up the Institute.
  • Meanwhile the Government of Saurashtra made a generous offer to place any of their buildings in Saurashtra at the disposal of the CSIR for housing the Institute. If no building was found suitable, the Saurashtra Government offered to pay for the building, provided the Institute was located in Saurashtra.
  • This offer from the Saurashtra Government was considered by the CSIR, particularly in view of the proposal from the Ministry of Works, Production and Supply that the Institute should be located in Saurashtra. Shri P. N. Kathju, the Planning Officer of the proposed Institute, carried out a preliminary survey of possible sites, both in the north coast and south coast of Saurashtra, for the location of the Institute. Bhavnagar, which being a flourishing centre of higher education in Saurashtra was considered to be suitable for locating the Institute.
  • The Saurashtra Government offered to place at the disposal of the CSIR a magnificent building, “Raj Hotel” , for housing the Institute, two bungalows and 125 acres of land for the Experimental Salt Farm (ESF) . In view of the facilities offered by the Saurashtra Government for the establishment of the Institute, the CSIR decided to set up the Institute at Bhavnagar.

8 Divisions - CSIR-CSMCRI

  • Analytical & Environment Science Division and Centralized Instrumentation Facility
  • Salt & Marine Chemicals
  • Inorganic Materials & Catalysis
  • Natural Products & Green Chemistry
  • Applied Phycology & Biotechnology
  • Plant Omics
  • Membrane Science and Separation Technology
  • Process Design & Engineering
  • As on April 2021, the Institute has around 210 staff with 170 S&T staff on its roll and around 200 research fellows and project assistants pursing their doctoral programme and engaged in several projects.
  • CSIR-CSMCRI currently focuses on diverse and highly applied research areas such as salt and marine chemicals, water desalination and purification, membrane based processes for separation & concentration, inorganic materials and catalysis, fine & specialty chemicals including sensing and diagnostics molecules, renewable energy, plant molecular biology & biotechnology with emphasis on seaweeds & salinity tolerance and waste management with a thrust on value recovery and environmental Impact assessment.
  • According to the 2021 Scimago Institutions Rankings CSIR CSMCRI are among the top 700 Global Institutions and top 35 institutes of our country. At this juncture, it is pertinent to mention that as per the SCIMAGO Institutions Ranking (2020) CSIR-CSMCRI holds 8th place in the Country amongst the 326 institutions that were ranked.
  • With a tentative annual budget of around ₹ 50 crore ($ 6.7 million US $; excluding pension) . This is demonstrated through quality research publications, intellectual property (IP) , technologies, technical services, societal outreach, human resource, and many more.

Marine Algal Research Station Mandapam

In 1967 – at Gulf of Mannar – seaweed is abundant

  • Gracilaria edulis (agarophyte) cultivation using the rope method in Krusadai island – commercial seedling production
  • Gelidiella acerosa (agarophyte) cultivation using the coral stone method in Ervadi coastline
  • Kappaphycus alvarezii cultivation through micropropagation – commercial cultivation
  • Establishment of Seaweed Tissue Culture Laboratory
  • Cultivation of Indigenous carrageenan yielding seaweeds
  • For the first time, CSIR CSMCRI has initiated seaweed cultivation in Andaman coast. Kappaphycus alvarezii. Gracilaria edulis and G. salicornia are seeded with 15 rafts each in Hathi tapu and Dundus point.

Plant Omics

Plant Omics
  • Preparation of low sodium salt of botanic origin
  • This group is actively pursuing research on halophytes towards utilizing them as genetic resources and value addition to their products. The study includes functional genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, molecular systematics, biodiversity and bioremediation.
  • The division has expertise in plant biotechnology, molecular biology, genetic engineering, biochemistry, microbiology, plant breeding and genetics, agronomy, plant nutrition and soil fertility.

Analytical and Environmental Science Division and Centralized Instrument Facility

Crystal Engineering, Computational Study, Drug Delivery, Electroanalysis and Electrocatalysis, Environmental Science, Optical Sensors, Supramolecular Chemistry, instrumentation and analytical method developments.

Computational Chemistry

Sensor Development

Electrocatalysis - The tailored composite electrode platform has been used with improved Faradaic Efficiency

Funding Agencies
  • Department of Science and Technology (DST) , New Delhi.
  • Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi.
  • Research Board in Atomic Sciences (BRNS) , DAE.
  • Defense Redevelopment and Development Organization (DRDO) , Gwalior.
  • Ministry of Education Science and Sports (Mess) , Zagreb, Croatia.
  • Department of Biotechnology (DBT) , New Delhi.

Applied Phycology and Biotechnology Division

  • Isolation, cloning and characterization of salt tolerant genes from the halophyte, Salicornia brachiata
  • Genetic engineering of crop/cash plants for enhanced abiotic tolerance
  • Biochemical and molecular systematics of seaweeds and microbes
  • Genomics and Metagenomics of extremophiles and marine microbes
  • Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria and its biotechnological applications
  • Molecular mechanism of plant-microbe interactions
  • Biofilm formation and bacterial quorum sensing
  • Metabolic engineering for enhanced photosynthesis and sequestration
  • Bio pigments/biomaterials from cyanobacteria/microalgae as a source of pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical substances.

Salt & Marine Chemical Division

Salt & Marine Chemical Division

Process Design and Engineering Division

Process & Product Development

Scale-up of chemical processes, experimental evaluation of process routes, process engineering, designing and generation of bench and pilot scale data, basic engineering aspects, process de-bottlenecking and troubleshooting.

Salt fortification with iron and iodine - Double fortified salt.

Waste to Wealth

  • Potash - Technology solution for sugarcane molasses-based alcohol distillery effluent (spent wash) valorisation through recovery of potash fertiliser and organics, within the regulatory ambit of ZLD norms.
  • Separation of sodium chloride and sodium sulphate for textile industries
  • Separation technology for carbonates of sodium and potassium for pharma industries.
  • Separation of ammonium chloride and sodium chloride for pesticide industries.
  • Value addition of effluent of organic pigment industries containing ammonium carbonate
  • Utilization of by-product bittern generated during salt production in to value added products

Renewable Energy

  • Development of cost effective decentralized solar thermal devices for livelihood expansion and sustainability.
  • Thermochemical conversion of carbonaceous wastes to value added products through bio-refinery approach.
  • Integration of solar thermal devices with biomass thermochemical systems with the focus to develop high efficiency integrated renewable energy systems.

Natural Products and Green Chemistry Division

  • Value addition of seaweed polysaccharide by means of their chemical/structural modifications towards producing functional new materials
  • Development of improved downstream processing protocols/technologies for commercially important seaweed polysaccharides
  • Dissolution and derivatization of biomacromolecules in neoteric benign solvents such as ionic liquids, deep eutectic solvents.
  • Development of eco-friendly protocols for the extraction of biomolecules from bioresources.
  • Actively engaged in the research focused on utilization of coastal resources such as algae, halophytes, and their associated microorganisms for generation value-added products and potential leads by employing advanced techniques from natural product chemistry and microbiology.
    • Synthesis of various heterocyclic compounds.
    • C-C, C-heteroatom bond formation reaction via C-H bond activation.
    • Design, synthesis, and bioassay of heteroatom fused small organic molecules.

Inorganic Materials and Catalysis Division

Inorganic Materials and Catalysis Division
  • Core competency of this division is “Materials and Catalysis,” this division has developed several homogeneneous and heterogeneous catalysts for industrially viable catalytic transformations with a special emphasis on, utilization for value added chemicals, specialty chemicals, hydroformylation, asymmetric transformations, selective oxidation, isomerization, biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals, photodegradation etc.
  • Under the conversion, this group has contributed to generate diverse value-added products such as formic acid, cyclic carbonates and other important building blocks.
  • Economically viable and environmentally friendly chemical processes for perfumery chemicals, e. g. , Mefrosol, Rasbperry ketone, Campholenic aldehyde, Carveol, Jasminaldehyde, Styrene oxides, 2-Phenylethanol, iso-eugenol, iso-safrole, estragole, a-hexyl cinnamaldehyde have also been developed and licensed few of them to several industries.
  • Under the “waste to wealth approach,” scientists in this division have been successful in extracting lithium and other precious metals from the discarded/used batteries and spent catalysts.

Membrane Science and Separation Technology Division

  • Desalination by reverse osmosis (RO) , electrodialysis (ED) , water purification by nanofiltration (NF) , and ultrafiltration (UF) .
  • Brackish water RO (BWRO) desalination
  • Hollow fibre ultrafiltration membrane
  • Two-stage RO for seawater desalination
  • Mobile desalination van
  • Electrodialysis (ED) based water desalination/purification unit
  • Solar powered ED unit for brackish water desalination
  • Thin film composite (TFC) reverse osmosis
  • Rejuvenation of the end-of-life seawater reverse osmosis membrane elements
  • India has 18 % of the world՚s population with only 4 % of the total global usable water resources. Another report reveals that India will move into the category of the water-stressed state by 2050.
  • CSIR-CSMCRI is a pioneer research institute for synthetic membrane designing, manufacturing, and membrane-based technologies. The degree of selectivity of a membrane depends on the either membrane pore size or membrane surface charged nature. Depending on the pore size, they can be classified as microfiltration (MF) , ultrafiltration (UF) , nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, while membranes with acidic charge classified as cation-exchange membrane and with basic charge classified as anion exchange membrane.
  • CSIR-CSMCRI has developed several membrane-based technologies using indigenously developed membranes for the water desalination/purification to provide safe drinking water. These technologies were also commercialized and well-tested in the remote rural areas of the country. Polymer electrolyte membranes have found diversified applications in fuel cells, storage battery and other energy devices.
Patents at a Glance
Research Publications
Types of Technologies

We have successfully transferred several commercially viable technologies to the industries, in particular and with special emphasis on MSME/Start-up sector. To support these endeavours the institute houses state of the art sophisticated instrumentation facility that comprises separation techniques-based instruments, modern tools of molecular spectroscopy, microscopy and surface characterization techniques

What CSIR-CSMCRI Do & Offer?

CSIR-CSMCRI frequently undertakes outreach activities and skill development programs. The institute also organizes several programs to generate scientific temper in young minds at the school level, that includes open-day and “Jigyasa” . Through the AcSIR coursework, the institute provides courses on topics “Chemistry of common salt & bittern products” and “Salt Technologies” , which are unparalleled in any Indian Universities.

Current Director – Dr. Kannan Srinivasan

CSR Areas for Financial Support

A maximum of 10 Students (in all subjects) from individual University/institution/college are permitted for Summer Training/Dissertation/Internship programmes at CSIR-CSMCRI.

Knowledge Resource Centre (Library) - The library has been automated using Alice for Windows (AfW) – an international user- friendly library package. The software facilitates automated circulation (issue-return) of books and speedy access to bibliographic, location and availability information of the books in the library


  • CSIR-CSMCRI՚s intervention in the development of a zero-waste process with recovery of potash (fertilizer) , water & other value-added by-product (s) like cattle-feed binder from spent wash transformed a long-standing environmental problem into an opportunity that achieve partial self-reliance for molasses-based distilleries.
  • World՚s 1st commercial plant to produce FCO-grade potassium nitrate from spent wash – based on this unique technology – has been installed at M/s Aurangabad Distillery Limited (Walchandnagar, Maharashtra) by M/s Chem Process Systems Private Limited, CSIR-CSMCRI՚s technology partner. This technology was awarded the CSIR Technology Award-2019 (Innovation Category) by Hon′ble President of India Shri Ramnath Kovind Ji on 26th September 2019.
  • CSIR-CSMCRI has exerted significant R&D efforts in the area of safe drinking water by developing affordable & efficient membranes for reverse osmosis (RO) plants & kit to investigate bacterial contamination in water. CSIR-CSMCRI՚s cost-effective technology for production of ultrapure water via the electro-dialysis route (having industrial and medical applications) has been widely acknowledged by the end-user community. The Institute is working on fortification of edible salt with various micronutrients, vital for the human health. The double fortified salt, containing both iodine & iron in recommended doses, invented by the institute is a milestone in addressing the problem of iodine deficiency disorders & iron deficiency in ‘one go’ especially for women & children.
  • Industrial waste-to-wealth& development of ZLD processes; sustainable exploitation of the ocean towards farming of seaweeds for extraction of valuable products (bio-stimulants; agar; agarose; pigments etc.) ; fine and specialty chemicals (mainly: perfumery chemicals) ; high purity solar salt through on-site interventions (for removal of impurities and making salt deployable for diverse industrial applications) ; reclamation of degraded coastal land by cultivation of halophytes; indigenous preparation of high-performance membranes for water purification (both for Electro Dialysis and Reverse Osmosis) ; preparation of high-throughput units for ultrapure water; development of low-cost sensors and gadgets (for bacterial load detection in water; curd-strip; Fluorimeter; water level indicator; Potentiostat & Plastic Chip Electrode)