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IIT Roorkee showcases affordable & point-of-use technology to produce arsenic-free drinking water in India’s first-of-its-kind, Mega R&D Fair ‘IInvenTiv’

By   /  October 14, 2022  /  Comments Off on IIT Roorkee showcases affordable & point-of-use technology to produce arsenic-free drinking water in India’s first-of-its-kind, Mega R&D Fair ‘IInvenTiv’

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ROORKEE : Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) has developed a simple and affordable point-of-use technology that can successfully remove arsenic under a real arsenic-contaminated water environment. This low-cost solution to produce arsenic-free drinking water can also remove other Heavy Metals.

This project is being showcased at ‘IInvenTiv,’ the IITs R&D Fair being held at IIT Delhi on the 14th and 15th of October 2022.

The Researchers have developed a novel adsorbent that will adsorb the two most hazardous arsenic species of arsenite (As (III) & arsenate As(V)) along with other heavy metal ions.

The Two key features of this innovation are

Ø  It can be easily integrated into existing water purification systems in households as well as large domestic systems

Ø  The adsorbent is prepared from industrial waste called ‘ferromanganese slag’ and an economical natural rock that is abundantly available through a simple chemical treatment

All sections of society would benefit from these adsorbent materials. Even in the future, the cost of food products with zero arsenic levels is expected to be higher. Thus, such material would be helpful in the removal of arsenic from agricultural water as well in the future.

The team of innovators from IIT Roorkee who developed this prototype is Prof. Abhijit Maiti, Department of Polymer and Process Engineering, Dr. Anil Kumar, and Dr. Nishant Jain.

Congratulating the researchers for developing products that will greatly benefit society, Prof. M. L. Sharma, Acting Director, IIT Roorkee, said, “The arsenic problem is considered a global problem, as many countries from America and Africa are affected by arsenic and other heavy metals in the aquifer. This innovation will be of great benefit not just to India but to the entire world. To meet high food demand, huge amounts of arsenic-contaminated groundwater are being withdrawn and they cause surface water contamination with arsenic.”

Prof. Akshay Dvivedi, Dean, Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy (SRIC), IIT Roorkee, said, “Management of ferromanganese slag is a great challenge for the industry and the country. So, the utilization of ferromanganese slag will be an environmentally sustainable approach. Thus, the process is environmentally friendly as no hazardous chemicals are involved in the manufacturing process.”

A prototype of a fixed bed with 50 g (~25 mL) material has been examined with real arsenic-contaminated groundwater with an initial arsenic concentration of 100-200 µg/L and contact time of ~2 min with the adsorbent. Around 250-300 L of water has been produced with an arsenic concentration of less than 10 µg/L (maximum WHO limit).

Elaborating on this innovation, Prof. Abhijit Maiti, Department of Polymer and Process Engineering, IIT Roorkee, said, “Cheap raw materials, minimal use of chemicals, and the easy scalability of the removal process are the three pillars of this invention. This innovation has been started with consideration of environmental sustainability as ferromanganese slag is an industrial waste and has little commercial value otherwise. About 500 kg of pelletized material has already been prepared in a single batch of chemical treatment process based on technology developed in an industrial setup as one industrial partner was associated with this project work through SERB, Indian Government, project scheme of ‘IMPRINT 2A.’ Arsenic removal experiments have successfully been done under real arsenic-contaminated water environments.”

This technology can filter 8000 liters of water and can be used for many years in a standard 4-5 members family. The conversion of this technology is easy and affordable as the adsorbent is prepared from industrial waste and has little commercial value. Currently, this technology is not available in India, and imported adsorbents available in the market are limited, and the cost is also considerably higher.

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