Going the tech way to solve environmental problems

Engineering students develop prototypes; 25 teams from colleges across south India to demonstrate projects at IIT-M

January 22, 2018 12:30 am | Updated January 25, 2018 02:14 pm IST - Chennai

Enterprising engineering students from across south India are developing prototypes to address issues such as reducing industrial waste and improving the environment.

Around 25 teams of students from various colleges will demonstrate their prototypes at the Indian Institute of Technology - Madras from February 7 to 9. The teams were selected based on their proposals and presentation. Feasible projects were given ₹5 lakh each to take forward their idea.

On the sidelines of IIT-M’s tech fest Shaastra, teams from Kongu Engineering College, Erode; SSN College of Engineering and IIT-M, Chennai; SCMS College of Engineering, Kochi; and CEERI Taramani, showcased their projects.

The team led by T. Dinesh Kumar and S. Abinesh of Kongu Engineering have designed a process to convert solar power directly to current in homes dispensing with the AC-DC-AC conversion now in vogue.

Saving energy, water

Veena Aishwarya and her team from CEERI have designed a low-concentration photovoltaic thermal (LC-PVT) system. “The PVT is used in hotels and textile industry. Our design will reduce the size of the solar module and produce more solar energy. A by-product is boiling water which can be used as an application in various industrial processes,” Ms. Veena explained.

IIT-M research scholars Ambika Selvaraj and T. Srihari Vikram have designed an evaporation and distillation unit for electroplating units in the Ambattur industrial estate to reduce water use.

“The 150 electroplating units in Ambattur use around 500 litres of water daily which is then wasted. Our unit will enable reuse of the water and also recover zinc, a metal the industry invests heavily in,” said Ms. Ambika.

Angel Joseph, an M.Tech student and her team from SCMS College, have designed microbial fuel cells to treat industrial waste water containing chromium. Ms. Joseph said this would prevent chromium pollution in the environment.

Keshav Kumar, a final year B.Tech chemical engineering student and his team from SSN, have designed a plastic disposal unit that can be installed in buildings. “Burning 1 kg of plastic produces 3 kg of CO2 which is released into the atmosphere. We are using a method called pyrolysis to burn the plastic which converts CO2 into gas and carbon. The unit can be installed in residential buildings,” Keshav said.

K. Sivaraman, advisor, projects of Industrial Waste Management Association said funding for the projects came from Virtusa Polaris and the U.S. Consulate. “We will also help selected teams to develop multiple prototypes as a reward,” he said.

“Start ups require funding and hand-holding in the initial years. We have the ecosystem that can help them,” said M. Subramanian, Chief Executive Officer of IIT-M Alumni Charitable Trust.

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