Bioelectricity from wastewater: IIT-Guwahati develops pathbreaking technology

IIT Guwahati develops technology to generate energy by treating wastewater
IIT-Guwahati develops tech to generate green energy by treating wastewater. Photo: IANS

Guwahati: The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-G) has developed a bio-electrochemical device, Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) that can generate green energy by treating wastewater.

The IIT-G sources have said that the use of organic material such as waste water in MFC makes it an eco-friendly device that offers a dual benefit of bioelectricity generation and waste management.

Mihir Kumar Purkait
Prof. Mihir Kumar Purkait. Photo: IANS

The research, supported by a grant from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Central government, was led by Prof. Mihir Kumar Purkait, along with his PhD student Mukesh Sharma of the Department of Chemical Engineering.

The bio-electrochemical device converts chemical energy contained in organic substrates into electrical energy through microbes, a statement of the institute said.

The conducted study reveals that the prepared CEMs are cheaper and perform better as compared to the several reported membranes, assisting in the separation of charges and potential development, Purkait said.

Rapid population growth has led to rising energy demands and environmental concerns, necessitating the development of renewable and sustainable energy production techniques.

Mukesh Sharma
Mukesh Sharma. Photo: IANS

The statement said that along with several renewable energy sources (solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, and geothermal energy, among others), the sustainable energy sources also include the 'Blue Energy' sources of energy harvesting and these sources of energy have no negative impact on the environment.

Commending the work of the research team, Prof T. G. Sitharam, Director IIT-G said that this development has provided an excellent sustainable energy source along with treating several wastewaters.

"After scaling the process, it can be used as a source of clean energy using municipal wastewater and other such areas economically," he said.

The waste sugarcane bagasse has also been used in the study to improve the membrane performance, thereby preparing a valuable product from the agricultural waste.

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