Skip to navigation Skip to content

Hutton work in India

The James Hutton Institute (and its forerunners) have a long history of working to aid nations in the developing world, and India has been a prime example of close Scotland-India links. See below a selection of projects focussed on India:




Biochar to Address Air pollution, Climate Change, food Security and Farmers' Income

Around 500 Mt crop residues are produced every year across India (1), and approximately 16% is burnt (2). Burning crop residues presents a key air pollution challenge across most of India, and more widely in South Asia (3). It reduces soil acidity and increases short-term availability of some nutrients (P and K) in soil, but leads to loss of other soil nutrients (N and S) and organic matter, resulting in long-term soil degradation (4). Farmers face problems of low crop production due to soil degradation and nutrient deficiencies, but continue to burn crop residues to quickly clear fields (4). This trend will only be reversed if the value of crop residues to farmers is realized. This project will consider potential to use crop residues to produce commercially important chemicals and biochar-based fertilizer. It will build a network of researchers from the UK, India and China with expertise in use of crop residues to produce biochar by commercial-scale pyrolysis. Biochar is the carbon-rich porous product produced by pyrolysis at low temperatures (~350–600°C) with low oxygen levels (5). Due to its nutrient holding capacity, biochar has huge potential to improve crop production, but evidence for its use in India is lacking (6). Release of ammonia from cattle urine, further contributes to poor air quality by playing the key role in formation of secondary aerosols (7). The program will use reviews and a lab-based study to develop a pilot-scale business model through discussion with key stakeholders and policy makers.  
Developing statistical downscaling to improve water quality understanding and management in the Ganges basin Covering 26% of India’s total landmass, water quality and water resources in the Ganges basin are vital for the wellbeing of one of the largest and densest global populations (43% of India’s population). However, they are being compromised due to activities such as rapid industrialization and urbanization, and mitigation efforts are hampered by lack of historical and contemporary discharge and quality data. This project will develop and implement new statistical methodology specifically for the Ramganga sub-basin to integrate new and existing water quality and algal data with remote sensing satellite data (both historical data from multiple sensors and new retrievals from recent Sentinel missions developed from NERC GloboLakes). 01/10/2019 to 31/09/2021
Hydro Nation Fellowship: Modelling agricultural management, land use and climate scenarios to reduce groundwater nitrate pollution in a semi-arid irrigated catchment: India Objective:
1. To identify the sources of nitrate in groundwater using coupled nitrogen and oxygen isotopes.
2. To assess the spatial variability of soil chemical properties in relation to diffuse pollution (Nitrate and salinity) in groundwater.
3. Modelling agricultural management, land use and climate scenarios to reduce groundwater nitrate pollution.
In Berambadi catchment the spatial variability of groundwater nitrate (1mg/L to 500mg/L) is close to the spatial variability of groundwater levels, raising the question of a possible effect of groundwater resource on the concentration of nitrate in groundwater. However, assessing the relationships between the status of groundwater resource and its chemical composition in an irrigated agro-system and predicting the evolution of the system according to land use or climate change scenarios in a hard rock aquifer is not straightforward. Therefore, the use of d15N and d18O and d13C tracers with an understanding of groundwater flow, soil properties and land use are essential for evaluating the origins and mechanisms of nitrate pollution in groundwater.
01/04/2019 to 31/03/2020



Areas of Interest

Printed from /research/international/india on 12/04/24 04:38:09 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.