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Virendra Singh Rawat / Lucknow

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur today announced the successful development of a low cost water purifier system targetted at rural and urban middle class segment.

The product is an upgraded version of ‘Shuddham’, a water purifier-cum-cooler designed to provide affordable and innovative solutions, and developed by the Imagineering Laboratory, IIT Kanpur.

Shuddham is user-friendly, easy to maintain, and economical, and will cost around Rs 4,000, once launched. It undergoes multi-stage purification, and cooling of the water takes place simultaneously.

The upper part of the system is a storage tank for the impure water, while the lower tank is a reserve tank for the purified water. There are three stages of purification: the water passes through a cotton filter in the first stage for the removal of solid impurities, followed by the removal of bad odour and chlorine through a cartridge with activated carbon.

The project was led by Prof J Ramkumar, who is the coordinator for Imagineering Laboratory and Rural Technology Action Group (RuTAG), and Dr Amandeep Singh, the Research Establishment Officer (REO).

Earlier, they were approached by Jitendra Singh Chaudhary from New Unnat India Techno Solution & Innovations to address the challenge of providing water purification and cooling at affordable rates. He had developed the initial model of Shuddham as a water filter.

The IIT Kanpur team addressed its limitations and improvised it into a low-cost water purifier-cum-cooler. The invention went through several stages of development to ensure higher efficiency and better purifying capacity.

The activated carbon was prepared in MedTech Lab, under the Imagineering Laboratory, IIT Kanpur, using coconut shells and a heating furnace called MITRA.

In the next stage, a polymer membrane is used for ion exchange. The purified water is then stored in a lower reserve tank with copper fins that diffuse copper and adds medicinal properties to the water.

Both tanks are encased in a clay pot that offers natural cooling, further reducing the temperature with the help of a convection fan. Additionally, the system is designed to run on a mini solar plate of 10 watts for areas with limited access to electricity.

“Shuddham is a great addition to the growing repository of low-cost innovations by the institute. I congratulate the team and hope that this reaches to the masses for better utility and for solving the issue of clean water,” IIT Kanpur director Prof Abhay Karandikar said.

Now, the IIT Kanpur team is working on developing a multilayer single filter bulb to reduce the number of stages in the process, further lowering the cost and making the product available to all.

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The Imagineering Laboratory is a central facility for concept design and product realisation at IIT Kanpur. Under this facility, there are different labs and centres viz. including Central Workshop, 4-i Lab, MedTech Lab, Tinkering Lab, and RuTAG, all supporting various innovations in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Centre.

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