A group of students at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur have developed a bio cell (battery) that can be used to treat sewage water and generate electric energy, being a perfect solution to combat the water and energy crisis.
The bio-cell (LOCUS) can be set up in the form of a plant, through which the sewage water of a housing complex would be flowed in. The patent-pending invention carries a cell that will automatically grow millions of anaerobic bacteria that multiply through respiration. This bacterium cleans up the sewage water and in the process generates free electrons, which can be harnessed to produce electricity.
“We worked on this concept for nearly a year before we readied the cell and applied to the ministry to enter its annual business plan competition that focuses on bio technology products for sustainable development,” said Manoj Mandelia, a fourth year student of biotech engineering.
According to the team, the cell at this stage can clean up the amount generated by 100 residential units in a day, that’s about 50,000 liters of sewage water. “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.
Though the energy output of the cell won’t power any air conditioners, the students are sure that if the 350 units are installed, the cells can produce enough electric energy to meet 50% of the demand of a 100-flat complex.