GITAM students design a system to recycle kitchen sink water
Inspired by the Chennai water crisis of 2019, six science and engineering students of Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management (GITAM), a Deemed to be-university, have designed a smart water-recycling system for kitchen sinks to ease the water problems of Indian cities. The system has won the first prize at the Business Plan Contest at Tirutsava, the annual techno-cultural festival of IIT Tirupati. The winners will represent India at the International Water Congress to be held in Denmark in May 2022.
Five students from the team – Anik Panja, Prithvi Tripathy, Sai Sasikanth Rokkam Jeswin GN and Shivani Narsina – are pursuing a BTech course at GITAM’s Visakhapatnam campus while the sixth student, Rushali Mishra, is a second-year BSc (Environmental Science) student.
The team was mentored by GITAM VDC (Venture Development Centre) Coaches Vikas Kumar Srivastav and Bollem Raja Kumar. The team has also received support from the Leadership team of GITAM, at different stages to convert their idea from a concept to a functional one.
Relating to the excruciating plight of Chennai’s water crisis in 2019, the students designed an eco-friendly and smart grey-water filtration system called Hydro Gravitricity, which is capable of catalysing biogas. It recycles the dark grey water coming out of kitchen sinks after dishwashing.
The team’s coach Vikas Kumar Srivastav said, “As part of the core technical team in the IEEE student branch of GITAM in 2019, they were required to make a group project innovatively related to water conservation. Coincidentally, the water crisis in Chennai was at its peak, with an extreme shortage of water for daily use, and it became the key catalyzing event for the team to embark on the project of recycling water draining out of kitchen sinks after dishwashing. It took the students 2.5 years to take the concept to the prototype stage through multiple designs and iterations.”
Said the team’s coach Bollem Raja Kumar: “The students have designed a self-maintaining, smart, and retrofittable rainwater and greywater filtration system. It has multiple stages fitted with filters, membranes and sedimentation tanks, with a grease trap. Sand and charcoal filters thoroughly clean the water. Built-in sensors provide real-time data on water quality and parameters such as pH, turbidity, TDS, and water volume. The filtered water can be used for irrigation, cleaning and flushing toilets. Individually the science behind every stage exists in the real world in bits and pieces. The students integrated all these systems and engineered them to fit into a limited space.”
Student Anik Panja, one of the team leaders says, “We built a plug-and-play greywater recycling system that can be retrofitted into existing kitchen pipes. It is also smart, hassle-free and self-maintaining, reducing the effort required for maintenance. We have integrated several sensors in the system, allowing it to adjust the self-maintenance cycle and generate a live report for the user to monitor the water usage and output quality.”
GITAM allocated space and funds to the students to build and test the prototype and fine-tine it. The system can be retrofitted to existing pipelines, and can be easily scaled up from the domestic household level to the industrial level.
The students are now working towards getting access to various water-testing labs in the country to validate the results published by their research.