A team of researchers from IIT Kharagpur has been honoured with the ‘Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards 2020’ for inventing a mechanism to generate electricity from wet clothes left to dry under the sun.
Another team from the institute shared the award for addressing the problem of energy conservation and thermal management in wearable and flexible electronic devices.
IIT Kharagpur Director Prof Virendra Tewari congratulated the researchers saying, “We still have sectors which need sourcing and efficient management of clean energy to meet our augmented power requirements, even in the remote areas'', reported The Indian Express.
The awards were given to Prof Suman Chakraborty, Prof Partha Saha and Dr Aditya Bandopadhyay from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Prof Sunando Dasgupta and his team from the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Using Technology to Make a Difference
“The clothes we wear are made from cellulose-based textile which has a network of nano-channels. Ions in saline water can move through this interlace fibrous nano-scale network by capillary action inducing an electric potential in the process,” explained the researchers from the department of mechanical engineering.
The device has been tested in a remote village where around 50 wet clothes were left for drying by washermen. These clothes were connected to a commercial supercapacitor which discharged electricity of around 10 volt. This stored energy is enough to glow a white LED bulb for more than an hour.
The work has been published in Nano Letters, a high-impact journal in the field, and the innovation has been patented by them.
The group led by Prof Sunando Dasgupta has been working in collaboration with Purdue University, USA, to address the problem of energy conservation and thermal management in wearable and flexible electronic devices, the spokesperson said.
They achieved this by leveraging the unique properties of ‘smart materials’ materials that sense and react to environmental conditions or stimuli such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, or magnetic signals infused with graphene, a form of carbon.
The ‘Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Awards’ was instituted by the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institution (SRISTI), a voluntary organisation, to celebrate the spirit of student innovation in fields of engineering, science, technology and design through affordable solution or pushing the technological edge.