LOCUS for clean water and green energy

In India, there is no policy which examines waste as part
of the cycle of production-consumption recovery. Waste management still is a
linear system of collection and disposal, creating health and environmental

Moreover, in India the energy supply is 40% short of the demand. Manoj Kumar
Mandelia, a student pursuing integrated MTech from IIT Kharagpur, has conceived
of a solution to deal with both wastewater management and producing electricity.

Our business leads to regeneration of energy and fresh

Manoj Kumar Mandelia, a student pursuing integrated
MTech from IIT Kharagpur

"I developed a product which uses the concept of microbial fuel cell (MFC is
a bio-electrochemical system that drives a current by mimicking bacterial
interactions found in nature). This can not only treat wastewater, but also
produce electricity in the process," explains Mandelia who heads a team of five
people engaged in the LOCUS project.

He says that LOCUS, which stands for localized operation of bio-cells using
sewage, can achieve chemical oxygen demand (COD) reduction levels in wastewater
to about 60-80%. LOCUS is a microbial fuel cell integrated with sewage treatment
systems to treat wastewater and simultaneously generate electricity.

"We have used a single chambered MFC for our LOCUS design. The electrical
system has been efficiently designed to deliver and distribute power; while the
mechanical design caters to filtering out the large, solid materials before the
sewage enters the MFC," says Mandelia.

"In terms of sustainability, our product stands out in three domains of
environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Our business does not
utilize any of the renewable sources faster than they can be regenerated. In
fact, it leads to regeneration of energy and fresh water," he adds.

"When the world is moving towards green technologies, a project that reduces
greenhouse emissions and helps to earn carbon credits is very significant," says
M Ravindran, general manager, Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises,

"My understanding of the LOCUS is that it uses the universal bacterial
metabolism in a unique engineering design to reduce the biological oxygen demand
(BOD) and COD, while simultaneously generating electricity from the electrons
produced in the bacterial metabolism," Ravindran adds.

Ravindran says that LOCUS is a sustainable development. With proper
implementation and execution, it would not only address the two most pertinent
issues in the world todayclean water and green energy; but would also have a
social and economic impact in making the industry use their resources to an
optimum level. It would also generate a means of livelihood and educate the
masses about the environment.

LOCUS is currently a lab scale model of 10 litres and has been tested in the
fermentation technology lab of IIT Kharagpur.

CIOL Bureau

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