Gold for IIT KGP Students for Ideating Innovative Wastewater Treatment Process


IIT KGP student team has won Gold at the Green Brain of the Year competition is organized by Middle East Technical University, Turkey. The contest has been devised to increase and enhance the international awareness of the Vital Triad: Sustainable Environment, Sustainable Energy, and Sustainable Water Resources among youth. The winning team members have won a prize money of Euro 1000 each. About 328 teams from 24 countries participated in the first round of the 5th “Green Brain of the Year”. 
The team from IIT KGP proposed a microalgae-mediated wastewater treatment process which simultaneously has the potential to address the problems of carbon dioxide emissions and energy crisis. Shruti Sarode and Ashutosh Singh, B.Tech. students at the Dept. of Biotechnology have been working on microalgal cultivation techniques and explored its potential to solve the major problems of wastewater treatment, carbon dioxide emissions as well as the energy crisis. Based on their B.Tech. project, they developed this proposal of microalgae based wastewater treatment. Depending on the source, wastewater usually contains nutrients in the form of nitrogen, phosphorous and carbon. Some microalgal species, when cultivated in wastewater, have the ability to uptake these nutrients for their growth. Since microalgae is a photosynthetic species, it can simultaneously sequester carbon dioxide to convert these nutrients into lipids and carbohydrates which can be processed to obtain valuable products like biodiesel and pigments. The students tried to leverage this potential of microalgae for developing a technically and economically feasible process which can potentially replace the conventional wastewater treatment technologies.
“This was a life changing experience and it motivated me to further work towards making the future clean and green. Saving the environment is really about saving our environment — making it safe for ourselves, our children, and the world as we know it” said Shruti. “Through this competition, we got the opportunity to witness revolutionary ideas in the field of sustainable energy which motivated me to further improve this project and work towards its implementation” added Ashutosh.
The students received very significant and constructive suggestions from the jury at the competition which they will be working on integrating those in the project for improving the economic and technical feasibility of the project and try to work towards its implementation in large scale.
Prof. Ramkrishna Sen, Professor of Department of Biotechnology & Head of Bioprocess and Bioproduct development Laboratory congratulated the team on their feat. “I have known Shruti and Ashutosh since their second year when they approached me with the desire to work in my lab. They have been involved in some of our on-going R&D activities in the lab ever since. The Green Brain project was inspired by our algal biorefinery research. Both of them are very hardworking, sincere and motivated.  Their recent success at Green Brain of the Year Contest makes everyone in our BBD Laboratory and the Department proud and we all wish them a prosperous future ahead” said Prof. Sen.