Environmental Sciences

Environmental protection & sustainability is realized by green energy utilization which can be achieved through solar cell, Hydroelectric cell. Whereas hydroelectric cell invention is future green energy source. Its use does not emit green house gases and toxic pollutants PM2.5, NOx, Ozone etc. I am head of division Environmental Sciences & Biomedical Metrology, Environmental Sciences group ( > 70 members ) working for national mission to create inventory of atmospheric data & to calibrate equipments used in the measurement of air pollutants gases, particulate matter PM2.5, green house gases for climate change.

High attitude station set up in Himachal Pradesh to monitor Air Quality and Climate system

A high altitude station set up by National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh will generate base data for atmospheric properties to serve as reference for comparison of polluted atmosphere elsewhere in India.

The station set up at the campus of Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology will monitor a number of parameters like Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen Oxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Ammonia, Sulpher Dioxide, Ozone, Hydrocarbon, Methane, etc. It is also equipped to measure weather parameters.  The station was formally dedicated to nation on Friday(March 17, 2017). It is remotely operated from NPL in Delhi.

         “The atmospheric monitoring in Palampur at an altitude of 1391 meters will generate data about atmospheric trace pollutants and their properties, and help us generate background parameters related to atmospheric pollutants including Particulate Matter and ozone,” Dr R K Kotnala, team leader of Environmental Sciences and Biomedical Metrology Division at NPL.

In addition, this new station has the experimental facilities to investigate the aerosol/cloud interactions, and such investigations would be helpful in generating a better understanding of climate system.

We need to establish mechanisms for certification of different equipment and methodologies used for monitoring air parameters as no such mechanism is available in the country and Indian manufacturers have to use data from agencies like US-EPA.

The data generated at the station will be shared with different pollution control boards and agencies in the country so that a more precise pollution mapping traceable to standard values can be done, which in turn, would assist policy decisions for the abatement of air pollutants.

At present, air quality parameters are mostly measured in industrial and residential areas for ascertaining their compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The data for air quality of pristine atmosphere is not available.

            Because of Palampur’s pristine air, and the capability of the new monitoring station for detection of small amounts of pollutants, the impact of faraway pollution sources can be measured precisely. The data taken at this station during past one year shows, the pollution levels are far below the limits of NAAQS.

PM2.5 work carried out presently at Environmental Sciences Group

Particulate matter/aerosols those having aerodynamic size equal or less than 2.5 µm are called PM2.5. Because they penetrate deep in to the lungs, and also impact on visibility as well as local weather conditions, they are among other 11 criteria pollutants listed in National Ambient Air Quality standard (NAAQS). Also because of their adverse health and climate effect, air quality of a station which is generally express in terms of Air Quality Index (AQI) is significantly governed by this criteria pollutant.

Therefore, firstly reliable (traceable) measurement of this parameter of NAAQS is very important to better understand the air quality and its consequences, and thus to make a better control policy. Secondly, because for health effect studies, particle size and its chemistry both matter, particle chemical composition determination is also equally important task. Thirdly, to make a perfect control policy of PM2.5, it is also very important to know the correct sources of particulate pollution especially in urban environment. Therefore, chemical analysis of tracers in particulate material is an important task. Currently CSIR-NPL is focusing on all these three tasks mainly for Delhi region, and then has plan to make it for other states/cities depending on the availability of external funding.

Hydroelectric Cell Invention: A Boon for Green Energy & Environment


Whole world is striving hard to find new alternative electrical energy sources within the constraints of non-polluting environment along with economically viability compared to existing energy sources. Dr.R.K.Kotnala & Dr.Jyoti Shah could accomplish such objectives by inventing “Hydroelectric Cell”.  Which produces electricity using very little water, without use of any electrolyte, acid/alkali and light. It has got a potential to replace the conventional cell, Fuel cell & solar cell. The novelty of this device is to generate electrical energy by water molecule dissociation at room temperature by lithium substituted magnesium ferrite material.

Hydroelectric Cell working principle is based on Nanoscience , oxygen deficient 

Li-substituted magnesium ferrite property and electrode chemistry, using only water to produce electricity. Fabricated cell is able to generate current 120 mA and0.95 Volts for 2 inches square pellet.

Compared to fuel cell, solar cell, it involves a simple and easy synthesis process with low cost oxide raw materials. Also no harmful chemicals and electrolytes have been used and no hazardous byproducts are produced during its operation. Moreover it is a green source for producing electrical energy and has got a potential to excel from existing other alternative portable energy sources.

Hydroelectric Cell produces electricity by dissociating water molecules at room temperature without using any external energy, UV light, electrolyte or catalyst. Hydroelectric cell invention is a major revolution to bring a paradigm shift in Green Energy research to open a new field of research globally. It supports carbon sequestration mechanism to reduce environmental pollution also.

A new field of research in Green Energy has been opened up globally to mitigate carbon sequestration by the use of Hydroelectric cell.

This invention has been covered in news about 53 times in different newspapers & NDTV, DD National, Rajya Sabha TV, etc even at international level during last 4 months only. Although Hydroelectric Cell invention news has been published in more than 51 newspapers during 2 months (The Hindu, Indian Express, The Telegraph, Deccan Chronicle, Economic Times, Rajasthan Patrika, Jagran Josh, DNA, Mail Today etc.) including 8 foreign newspapers.

Top Energy magazines internationally – Energy News, Science World Report, Science examiner, ET-World Energy etc have covered Hydroelectric Cell invention news recently.

Environment friendly Renewable/green energy source –Silicon solar cell  

Dr. Kotnala had developed a low cost process of fabrication of P±NN+ silicon solar cells by simultaneous diffusion of boron and phosphorous into N-type silicon through a thermally grown silicon dioxide layer of 0.1 micron thick was main Ph.D work of Dr. Kotnala. The process is well suited for large scale production of back surface field silicon solar cell. Moreover this work was published in “ASSET” 1981 United National University publication as-Low Cost Process – Solar Cell.

Book: Essentials of Solar Cell (First book published in India by Allied Publishers on Solar Cell in 1986) this book has been recommended as reference book in B. Arch & B. Tech syllabi by many Engg. Colleges & Dept. of Architecture GOI even today. Also it has been cited in 7 journals recently in 2006, 07 & 08.

Electrical Steel of Transformer Core quality for to save energy and environment (saving energy by increasing transformer efficiency earns carbon credit for the nation): 

Dr.Kotnala.s expertise on control & precise measurements of magnetic parameters of electrical steel at different Silicon  content has resulted  into a MoU signing is in progress between NPL & CPRI ,Central Power Research Institute, Bangalore for working to improve transformer efficiency at national levelI have developed an international test based on  I EC  404-2 & given consultancy to industries.

  • Degradation in Efficiency & Health of a Transformer using Recycled steel.

  • A special effort has been initiated by Dr. Kotnala by addressing experts from CPRI, Bangalore, CEA, Nippon Steel, ABB  & Indian Transformer Manufacturer Association on May 2015.

  • To save energy from Distribution Transformer in two ways as:

  • Understanding Ageing Effects in Transformer Core
  • Not to use Recycle Core material in Transformer. As small increase in efficiency say 0.5% of the distribution transformers in India would result in annual saving of 4 to 5 Billion KWh together with reduced carbon emission (CO2) of 4 M Tonnes per year.


Role of Nanoparticles in Environmental pollution:

Ethical Issues on Nanotechnology: (Making cautious on environmental pollution implications of engineered nano-materials, of possible ways to handle materials as nano hazards).

For the first time a chapter  published on “Ethical Issues on Nanoscience & Nanotechnology” in a book New Nanotechniques published by  Nova science Publisher, New York in 2009.

Protection of Human Health & Environment from Microwave Radiation

EMI/EMC shielding materials and test Facility in EQDC, Gandhinagar for environmental protection of human health from EMI & magnetic radiation emission test from electronic equipments& automobiles. (9 papers have been published & US patent #1).

Strategic Tasks to be Executed for Environment Monitoring & Health Effects

  1. Development of Green Energy Revolution by Hydroelectric Cell Invention.
  2. Gold Certified Reference Material (CRM) known as Indian Reference Material, Bharatiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND) is a high purity gold primary calibration standard.
  3. Coal Certified Reference Standard Material to be ready for certification.
  4. Calibration Facilities and Reference Materials for Testing of Breath Alcohol Analyzers 
  5. Calibration Facilities and dissemination of SI Traceable Aqueous Alcohol Reference Materials for Breath Alcohol Analyzers –Initially Confined to Delhi Region Traffic Police, Crew Members of Aeroplane & Medicine Standard.
  6. Calibration & standardization of Biomedical equipment.
  7. Promotion of Quality Atmospheric & Biomedical Measurements for Societal & Industrial Benefits (PRYAS).