National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) can play a major role in achieving energy independence, said former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam here on Wednesday.

Addressing scientists of NIOT here on the occasion of Technology Day celebrations, Mr. Kalam said India had an over 7,000 km-long coast line, providing huge potential for offshore wind energy generation. The present potential of wind energy worked out to 45,0000 MW. NIOT could partner with relevant technological institutions for launching studies to explore the potential of off-shore wind farms in the country. Similarly, NIOT could pioneer the work of marine algae oil research, in partnership with foreign universities, as algae oil could act as a supplement to the conventional petroleum derivatives.

Describing deep sea mining as one of the emerging areas in the mining industry, Mr. Kalam said many resources, including silver, gold copper, manganese, cobalt platinum and zinc, were found in higher concentrations on the sea floor than on land. Sea floor mining would also avoid many problems associated with terrestrial mining. There would be no acid mine drainage, no excavation would be required, no waste rock piles and no permanent structures would be left behind.

India, with its long coastline, would be able to exploit the mineral potential on a long-term sustainable basis. As the premier institute of ocean technology, NIOT could play a pioneering role in this area.

At the same time, NIOT scientists must also research on the environmental impact of deep sea mining and mitigation techniques for them.

Mr.Kalam also suggested NIOT to consider the possibility of evolving an island PURA (provision of urban amenities in rural areas), especially in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, to improve the economic activity in all islands and also deliver welfare in the form of better employment and life to local people.

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