This article appeared in Times of India dated November 16th 2009. I really liked their concept, and hope they are able to make it happen.
Five students from IIT Kharagpur – Manoj Mandelia, a fourth year student of biotech engineering, Prateek Jain (agriculture and food engineering department), Shobhit Singhal (electrical engineering), Pulkit Anand (energy engineering) and Mohan Yama (PhD student of biotechnology) alongwith renowned biotech faculty member Debabrata Das are working on a simple idea initially thought over by Manoj. They have developed a bio-cell that can not only treat sewage water but also generate electricity a that could offer a one-stop solution to the water and energy crises. Their bio-product has won them rave accolades from the ministry of science and technology and a cash award to carry their research forward.
The idea is simple. The specially designed bio cell (LOCUS) will be set up in the form of a plant, through which the sewage water of a housing complex would be flowed in. The genius of this invention which is awaiting patent lies in the design of the cell that will automatically grow millions of anaerobic bacteria that multiply through respiration. The bacteria clean up the sewage water and in the process generate free electrons. If harnessed, these electrons can generated electricity.
The cell, at this stage, can clean up 50,000 litres of sewage water, about the amount generated by 100 flats in a day. The water produced this way can be compared with that supplied provided by a civic body, the students say. “The purified water has been tested and has been certified to be clean and fit for household use. It is, however, not fit for drinking,” Mandelia explained.
The IIT-Kgp team has even produced electricity with the bio cell. “A township of 100,000 people needs about 2.3 megawatts of electricity a day. It will be years before we reach that stage. But we have already been able to generate electricity. By next year, we aim to generate 350 units, enough to meet 50% of the demand of a 100-flat complex. When we say this we are not taking airconditioners into consideration,” said Prateek.
Original Article can be found at : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata-/IIT-boys-draw-power-water-from-sewage/articleshow/5233831.cms