A team of researchers from IIT Kharagpur received the ‘Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards 2020’ to design a method to produce electricity with wet clothes kept drying in sunlight. The information was provided by a spokesman for the institution on Monday.
The same award was presented similarly to another group from IIT Kharagpur for tackling the conservation of energy and thermal control issue in portable and mobile electronic devices.
IIT Kharagpur Director Prof Virendra Tewari congratulated the researchers by saying, “We still have sectors which need sourcing and efficient management of clean energy to meet our augmented power requirements, even in the remote areas.” The Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institution (SRISTI), a voluntary organization, has established the ‘Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Awards.”
SRISTI said that the GYTI Award honours the spirit of student innovation in all areas of engineering, science, technology and design by highly affordable/frugal approaches, or those that drive the technical edge.
The representative of IIT Kharagpur said that Prof. Suman Chakraborty, Prof. Partha Saha and Dr Aditya Bandopadhyay from the Mechanical Engineering Department were awarded for their research – “Electrical power generation from wet textile”.
Prof Sunando Dasgupta and his team from the Department of Chemical Engineering have also been awarded for their work – “Smart, flexible, and multi-functional thermal and energy management systems for next-generation electronic devices”.
Nano-electricity generator, the novelty of the first innovation, is in its thrifty means rather than generating power from intricate resources, the IIT Kharagpur representative said.
The device was checked in a rural village where washermen left nearly 50 wet clothes to dry. These clothes were attached to a commercial supercapacitor that discharged some 10-volt electricity. This accumulated energy is plenty for more than one hour to light a white LED bulb.
“The clothes we wear are made from cellulose-based textile which has a network of nano-channels. Ions in saline water can move through this interlace fibrous nano-scale network by capillary action inducing an electric potential in the process,” explained the researchers from the department of mechanical engineering.
The paper is published in Nano Letters, a field-level high-impact journal, and they patented the innovation.
The team led by Prof. Sunando Dasgupta partnered with Purdue University, USA, to resolve energy efficiency and thermal control problems in portable and mobile electronic devices, the representative said.
They achieved this by leveraging the unique properties of ‘smart materials’ materials that sense and react to environmental conditions or stimuli such as mechanical, chemical, electrical, or magnetic signals – infused with graphene, a form of carbon.