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Bioremediation Technology

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The Bioremediation Technology Area focuses on basic and applied research on microbial resources for biotechnological intervention to address environmental pollution from various industries. The activities of bioremediation area are focused to clean up oil spills on land, Oily ETP and tank bottom waste, oil contaminated soil, oil contaminated pond and sea water, oil contaminated drill cuttings, synthetic oil based mud waste, and other type of contamination like pesticide contamination to name one by using specific microbial consortium like Oilzapper , Oilivorous – S , Oilivorous - A , KT – Oilzapper, and so on.

Application of Oilzapper of oil field of KOC, Kuwait
Site before bioremediation near GC-2 Burgan oil field KOC, Kuwait Site after bioremediation near GC-2 Burgan oil field KOC, Kuwait

Application of Oilzapper at the Bioremediation site
Site before bioremediation at Well no. I, NK Old GGS, ONGC Mehsana Asset Site after bioremediation at Well no. I, NK Old GGS, ONGC Mehsana Asset
Site before bioremediation at Dikom field, OIL Duliajan, Assam Site after bioremediation at Dikom field, OIL Duliajan, Assam

Thrust Areas

The The Area is involved in the bioremediation of sites contaminated with crude oil spills and the treatment of oily sludge (hydrocarbon waste generated by oil refineries) using 'Oilzapper', a bacterial consortium, which can biodegrade different types of crude oil and oily sludge. The end product of bioremediation is CO2, water, and dead biomass, hence the process is very much environment friendly. Oilzapper has been in use since 1997 to treat oily sludge and clean up crude oil spills. So far, approximately 1 30 000 metric tonnes of oily sludge/ oil contaminated soil has been treated through this process. The various types of oil contamination are crude oily sludge, oil contaminated sites (lands and lakes), oil contaminated drill cuttings, SOBM (synthetic oil based muds), emulsion oily sludge, acidic oily sludge, high sulfur containing oily sludge, oil contaminated spent clay, and so on, which can be bioremediated by using Oilzapper technology. The microbes have been demonstrated very successfully in all the oil companies including Hindustan Oil Corporation Limited (refineries and depots), Bharat Oil Corporation Limited (refineries and depots), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (Refineries and depots), Oil and Natural Gas Commission (Ankleshawar, Ahmedabad, Assam, Cauvery, Meshana assets, and Uran plant), Cairn Energy Ltd, BG Exploration and Production India Ltd, Tata power in various parts of the country.

The area has set up one pilot scale bioreactor facility at TERI Gram, Gual Pahari, with the support of DBT (Department of Biotechnology), Government of India, and the following oil industries.
Indian Oil Corporation Ltd
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd
Oil Industry Development Board

With this facility TERI will be able to provide the required quantity of Oilzapper, Oilivorous-S, and Oilivorous A for bioremediation of the oil spills and oil contaminated sites at the various oil industry locations in India.

TERI also intends to utilize the proposed facility in research and development and commercial scale demonstration as well as in imparting training and human resource development. Training imparted by working in the proposed fermentation set up will further enhance the manpower expertise for application and operation of high volume fermentation processes.

Bioreactor (1000 litre capacity) facility at Gual Pahari, Gurgaon

With the encouraging success of technology in bioremediation area a joint venture known as OTBL (ONGC TERI Biotech Limited) between ONGC and TERI was created for clean up of oil spills, oily sludge, oil contaminated site, and oil contaminated water <http://www.otbl.co.in>.

The Area initiated a program for the creation of a referral centre for microorganisms that could degrade toxic hydrocarbon compounds and desulphurize fuel oil. It also undertook a programme to assess and document microbial diversity at sites contaminated with toxic organic pollutants.

In addition, the Area has initiated programmes for detoxifying and removing recalcitrant pesticide residues in the environment. Microbes are used to develop a bioremediation technology to degrade chlorinated and nitro-aromatic pesticide residues.

Areas of Expertise

In situ bioremediation of crude oil spills, oily sludge in pit, and oily sludge contaminated sites
Ex situ bioremediation of crude oily sludge, emulsion oily sludge, acidic oily sludge, SOBM (synthetic oil based mud), oil contaminated spent clay, and oil contaminated drill cuttings
Bioremediation of pesticide residues
Documentation of microbial diversity in soil contaminated with crude oil/oily sludge
Bioethanol, Biohydrogen, Biodegradable plastics, MEOR (Microbial enhanced oil recovery), Microbial paraffin degradation, Control of sulfate reducing bacteria in oil reservoir and microbial induced corrosion in oil industry, and medical microbiology related projects in close association with Microbial Biotechnology Area.

Select Clients/Partners/Stakeholders

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd, India
Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, India
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, India
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, India
Oil India Ltd, India
Cairn Energy, India
Tata Power, India
British Gas Exploration and Production India Ltd, India
Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd, India
Reliance Industries Ltd, India
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Abu Dhabi
Kuwait Oil Company, Kuwait