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Nepal Academy of Science and Technology

Nepal Academy of Science and Technology
Formation 1982
Headquarters Khumaltar, Lalitpur
Location
  • Nepal
Official language
Nepali and English
Slogan Science and technology for national development
Website http://www.nast.org.np
Formerly called
Royal Nepal Academy of Science and Technology

Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) previously RONAST is an autonomous apex body established in 1982 to promote science and technology in the Nepal.[1][2][3][4]

Contents

  • Objectives 1
  • Molecular Biotechnology Unit Laboratory 2
  • Environment Research Laboratory 3
  • Physical Science Laboratory 4
  • Nepal Flora Project 5
  • Solar Energy 6
  • Material Science and Nanotechnology 7
  • Bio Energy Unit 8
  • Wind Energy 9
  • Small Hydro Power 10
  • References 11

Objectives [5]

  • Advancement of science and technology for all- round development of the nation.
  • Preservation and further modernization of indigenous technologies.
  • Promotion of research in science and technology.
  • Identification and facilitation of appropriate technology transfer.

Molecular Biotechnology Unit Laboratory

NAST Molecular Biotechnology Unit (previously called Biotechnology Unit) started researching at DNA level since 2002 with molecular diagnosis of Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) disease. Prior to this, it was engaged in other biotechnological research activities such as production of disease free planting materials of Citrus through Shoot Tip Grafting (STG) in vitro tissue culture technique, Bacillus thuringiensis based biological pesticide, Citrus Tristeza Virus (CTV) diagnosis using ELISA technique and plant propagation using various plant growth regulators etc.

Current activities of this unit are:

Activity 1: PCR-based diagnosis of citrus Huanglongbing disease in Nepal

Activity 2: Molecular characterization and DNA Barcoding of high value Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) of Nepal using PCR-based and DNA sequencing based molecular markers

Activity 3: Exploration, molecular and biotechnological characterization of medicinal plants and fungal biodiversity of Manasalu Conservation Area (MCA), Central Nepal and Sagarmatha National Park (SNP), Khumbu region.

Activity 4: Exploration of hot spring Thermophiles for the production of industrially important enzymes

Activity 5: Exploration, molecular and biotechnological characterization of probiotic microorganisms of traditional dairy products of Nepal

Activity 6: Himalayan seed bank (HSB) for collection, characterization, conservation and sustainable utilization of high value medicinal and aromatic plants and wild plant biodiversity of Nepal

Activity 7: Integrated management of Alian Invasive Species (AIS) - Parthenium weed (Parthenium hysterophorus L.) and Mikania weed (Mikania micrantha Kunth ex. H.B. K) in Nepal [6]

Environment Research Laboratory

Background

Environment and climate study research unit conducts research on environment related issues. Besides research, water quality analysis service is provided to consumer as routine work. The major programs of the unit are:

1) Water and wastewater treatment, 2) Waste management, 3) Climatological study, 4) Satellite rainfall estimation, and 5) Water quality analysis services.

Objectives

Investigate cost-effective methods of pollution control, conduct climatological and meterological studies and provide analytical service for quality analysis of water are the objectives of the programs running under environment and climate study research unit.

Program and Achievements

1. Water and Wastewater Treatment This program is focused on development of cost effective methods for the removal of chemical contaminants from water and wastewaters. It also targets to remove toxic metals (heavy metals), non-metals, and metalloids using locally available low-cost materials. The achievements of the program are research articles published in national and international journals and reports submitted on related area.

2. Waste Management Mitigate the impact of wastes on environment and public health is the objective of this program. Recently the program is focused on environment and public health impact assessment of landfill sites operated by metropolis/sub-metropolis and municipal cities. A collaborative study report on “Impact Area Assessment of Okharpauwa Landfill Site” has been submitted to Solid Waste Management Technical Support Centre (SWMTSC).

3. Hydrospheric and Atmospheric Research This program aims to study on hydrospheric and atmospheric processes, changes and impacts over the Himalayan regions. The specific objective includes monitoring of air pollution and its impacts on climate and land cover changes, validation of satellite data for possible application on the relevant fields, and glaciers monitoring.

4. Water Quality Analysis Service The aim of this program is to provide water quality analysis service. We receive water samples from different sources viz. ground water, surface water, tap water and stone spouts. The groups from where we receive water samples are: common people, institutions, entrepreneur, NGOs and INGOs.

[7]

Physical Science Laboratory

Physical Science Unit consists of following field of researches:

1. Environmental Radioactivity 2. Personnel Dosimetry 3. Household Radon Survey 4. Radiation from Cell Phone Towers 5. Development of Thin films & Nano-particles

1. Environmental Radioactivity: A national network of radioactivity is established for measuring terrestrial radioactivity in environmental samples and in the air. The assessment of radioactivity due to Uranium and Thorium series, Potassium-40 along with total radioactivity will provide the baseline information of our radiation environment. Thus obtained data on environmental radioactivity will be represented in thematic useful for health, environment and education services.

2. Personnel Dosimetry: Thermoluminescent Dosimeters (TLD) are used to monitor radiation doses absorbed by personnel (especially technician, radiographer, radio-therapist, medical physicist, etc.). Under the TLD based personnel-monitoring system, the radiation workers wear the dosimeter for a specific period and the radiation exposure is estimated on the basis of TL dosimetric reading on the TLD Badge Reader. The purpose is to establish radiation safety culture by providing TLD service on periodic and regular basis to all persons involved in radiation work in the country.

3. Household Radon Survey: Radon and its radioactive daughters present in the environment results into the largest contribution to the average effective natural radiation dose received by human beings. Radon has been identified as the second leading cause of lung cancer after tobacco smoking. The study of radon and its progeny exposure in dwellings is important as it can result in to a significant inhalation risk to population particularly to those living in homes. A Solid State Nuclear Track Detector (SSNTD) technique has been employed to study radon exposure in the dwellings of Kathmandu Valley.

4. Radiation from Cell Phone Towers: Cell phone technology has revolutionized the telecommunication scenario in Nepal. Due to its various advantages, cell phone technology has grown exponentially in the last decade and similarly the numbers of cell phones and cell towers are increasing without giving due respect to its disadvantages. All over the world, people have been debating about associated health risk due to radiation from cell phone and cell tower. Assessment of power density due to RF (radio-frequency) exposure from the cell phone towers in the Kathmandu valley is in the process.

5. Development of Thin films & Nano-particles: Our research stresses on the investigation of advanced oxide materials – both thin film and nanostructures – in pursuit of three major research thrusts: 1) Optical and electrical properties of materials, 2) Functional Materials and Devices, and 3) Metal oxides for Solar Energy Conversion. The foundation of the research is based on the growth of metal oxide thin films and nanostructures via a wet chemical route.

Optical and Electrical Properties of Materials: This area of research aims to elucidate realm of solid state materials science – the physics and control of doping effects in materials. Our comprehensive approach includes aspects of materials design, synthesis and advanced characterization development and utilization.

Functional Materials and Devices: Driven by recent advances in the production of high quality thin films of metal oxide materials and nanoparticles, immense attention has been given to recognize their possible applications in photo-catalyst, gas sensors, self-cleaning material etc.

Metal Oxides for Solar Energy Applications: Motivated by the escalating need for alternative energy, we are studying the creation of oxide-based photovoltaic devices. An effort has been made on applying fundamental understanding of semiconducting properties (i.e. band gap, carrier mobility and absorption) in these materials.[8]

Nepal Flora Project

Nepal holds over 6500 species of flowering plants. The botanical exploration is still not yet completed and therefore, many plant species are still unexplored. Realizing the long felt need for authentic publication of flora of Nepal, the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology initiated this project in collaboration with national and international institutions.

The total 10 volumes of the Nepal Flora have been scheduled to publish by 2020 in both electronic web and printed book version. The Volume 3 including plants from Magnoliaceae to Rosaceae has been published in 2011 as a first publication from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK which includes 21 families with 123 genera, 600 species, 19 sub-species, 31 varieties and 4 forma.[9]

Solar Energy

Major Activities

1. Solar Radiation Monitoring & Analysis

A real time monitoring of the Solar Radiation in Kathmandu as well as in different parts of the country is being carried under this activity. The collected data are processed in order to calculate the real potential to exploit the solar irradiance of the concerned place to meet the energy demand of the place. The outcome of the activity is expected to end up with solar radiation mapping of country with real-time data.

2. Energy Auditing & Conservation

In the context of having acute shortage of energy, the activity intends to develop a culture to minimize the energy waste and maximize the use of available energy resources. Energy Auditing is the fundamental tool used for the purpose. By institutionalizing the energy conservation practices, proliferation of solar energy technology also becomes easier as cost of solar PV modules of moderate size can be within the reach of middle class people.

3. Diversification of Solar Technology

This activity mainly addresses the issues related to diversification in the areas of application of solar energy technologies in the country and respective capacity building to adopt the new technologies. It covers wide range of activities such as proliferation of knowledge on solar energy technologies, feasibility study of grid connected rooftop PV system along with mini / micro grids and efficient use of Sun Simulator and module tester.[10]

Material Science and Nanotechnology

Major Activities:

1. Synthesis and Extraction of Materials This activity is dedicated to synthesize the metal oxide semiconductor nanomaterials, form nanostructures on metal oxides and also extract the organic dyes from the plants of Nepal for their possible applications including optoelectronic devices like solar cell. With the expansion of human and infrastructural resources the activities will be extended in the domain of metal nanoparticles as well as polymer materials.

2. Characterization of Synthesized and Extracted Materials The materials synthesized or extracted in laboratories of the NAST are basically characterized under this activity. Also, this activity covers the service provided to the researchers of other institutions of the country for the characterization of their crystalline solid samples by X-ray Diffraction. To accomplish this task, optimum use of recently installed Bruker D2 Phaser Diffractometer at NAST will be ensured.

3. Application of the Synthesized and Extracted Materials in Devices All the materials synthesized or extracted in the laboratory will be used for the fabrication of devices under this activity. Emphasis will be given first to apply them in Dye Sensitized Solar Cells(DSSC). With the diversification in the type of materials synthesized and identification of properties during characterization in the laboratory, new areas of their applications will also be sought.[11]

Bio Energy Unit

Biofuel Laboratory: NAST is focusing on processing technology aiming to establish of sustainable biodiesel production from jatropha oil and waste cooking oil using homely grown or to be grown or available feedstocks or catalyst to develop the novel technology. The primary concerns are in jatropha oil, waste cooking oil, microalgae.

Biomass Laboratory NAST is also working on effective utilization of biomass wastes; agro, forest or households, or municipal, to make energy commodities or manures as following: Biobriquette technology for energy Biochar Technology for soil enrichment Cleancooking solution

[12]

Wind Energy

NAST has initiated for the assessment of Wind Speed and Resource Characterization for selected sites in Nepal.[13]

Small Hydro Power

Small Hydro Power (SHP) program was initiated from this fiscal year 2071/72 at NAST under Faculty of Technology. This program was developed for development of research and standardized testing in Small Hydro Power equipment within the country. Since, the hydro power is main potential electrical energy source in our country so, for this context there is high necessity for R&D in this field.

Objective

Main objective of this program is to initiate the field and lab based research in hydro power with establishment of hydro testing lab facility at NAST.

Activities in coming years

Phase I (within 1st year)

Site survey and problem identification of concern plant. Study in existing problems of Small Hydro in Nepal Construction of small workshop for testing hydro mechanical based equipment. Addition of basic test and measurement instruments to the hydro-lab facility at NAST. Demand-based research in Small Hydro Power sector. Continual capacity building of the hydropower equipment standardization at NAST Phase II (within 2nd year)

Establishment of various testing facilities for Small Hydro Power producer. Performance evaluation and analysis unit for their technological difficulties and verification mechanism.

Phase III (within 3rd year)

Well equipped lab for different hydro power components testing and technology transfer within Nepal. Lab based research on different components and machines related to small hydro power. Expansion of research work on hydro power and other similar problems. Continual research and innovation in modernization of hydro lab.

Recent Activities

MoU with Ministry of Energy

Faculty of Technology, NAST has signed MoU with Ministry of Energy for establishing laboratory for testing hydro equipment and machines in this fiscal year 2071/072.

Silanyash Program for Hydro Laboratory by Vice Chancellor, NAST

Vice Chancellor of NAST, Prof. Dr. Jib Raj Pokhrel has Silanyash the laboratory for hydro power on 23rd Poush 2071. The laboratory was intended to establish for providing testing and research facilities for Small Hydro Power plants basically in electro mechanical sector.

Research activities:

1. Identification of major problems in Small Hydro Power plants basically in electromechanical section within the country. 2. Solutions in short and long term for above identified problems. 3. Initiating testing facilities for some equipment and machines from this fiscal year.[14]

References

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