Weekly Current Affairs

Army depot turns to the sun to destroy old ammunition [Defence]

  • In a major breakthrough, the central ammunition depot of the Army in Maharashtra has devised a method of utilising solar energy for disposing ammunition which have completed their shelf life.
  • The depot won the ‘CST and solar cooker excellence awards 2016' of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) which was presented to Brig. Sanjay Sethi, Commandant of the depot.
  • The method uses steam generated by concentrated solar technology (CST) to melt explosive material inside shells of munitions with calibres ranging from 40 mm to 130 mm.
  • In CST, mirrors are used to concentrate solar energy to convert water to steam which is directed on the shells. This is the first of its kind development in the world in field of demilitarisation of ammunition.
  • Medium and high calibre ammunition is filled with Tri-Nitro-Toulene (TNT), which has a melting point of 80 degree Celsius which can be melted with steam.
  • Central Ammunition Depot, Pulgaon, is the largest ammunition depot of the Indian Army, and also one of the largest ammunition depots in the World.
  • Apart from storage of ammunition reserves, the depot is required to demilitarise/ dispose of large quantity of ammunition, which becomes unserviceable on expiry of usable shelf life.
  • Disposing of ammunition is a very dangerous and energy intensive process. Traditionally it is done on open grounds using demolition explosives in demolition grounds/firing ranges.
  • Open demolition of explosives has associated inherent dangers. Blinds, partial binds, and other accidents are common on demolition grounds.
  • Shells treated through CST are rendered 100 percent free from explosives and the recovered TNT filling can be re-casted for reuse.