Anusha Ganta, a student at IIT-M (Indian Institute of Technology, Madras) is making it in News by finding out a way to convert human urine into useful products. This second-year PhD student, specialising in Environmental Engineering from the Institute along with three project staff (including a mentor Indumati Nambi and a postdoctoral fellow Divyapriya) are in the run to use human waste for a greater purpose.
In order to take forward the experiment, Anusha along with the other project staff retrofitted urinals on the campus of IIT Madras. This will help in collecting urine which will be stored for three days to convert urea into ammonia. This will then be steam distilled to segregate ammonia. Once the ammonia is segregated, the remaining liquid could be of commercial grade which can be used to manufacture rubber or to make cleansers like detergents. The next step will be the struvite process to precipitate phosphorus and finally, magnesium is added to the remaining liquid.
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According to the mastermind behind this brilliant idea, Anusha Ganta, 90% of the water from the urine collected from IIT Madras Campus can be recovered using the electrochemical process. This water can later be utilized for flushing purposes, gardening, etc. Till now, around 200 grams of phosphorus has been extracted from 50 L of urine. Anusha and the team say that they developed a prototype for the Carbon Zero Challenge. The team applied to India Innovation Growth Programme 2.0 with the prototype. Anusha says that the prize money which is 10 lakh rupees, will be dedicated to registering the technique as a start-up and developing a compact version of the already existing prototype.
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