For many years VIT University, Vellore, has been instrumental in creating leaders across industries. This year too was no exception. Devlina Das, a CSIR Senior Research Fellow at VIT University, recently bagged the second prize in world competition, at the prestigious 2015 RELX Group Environmental Challenge.
The $25,000 prize went to SALINO, a project managed by Devlina, which converts sea water into drinking water using a unique five-step method powered by solar energy. The winners also get a year’s free access to Science Direct, a database that includes 3,67,000 articles on environmental science.
The first prize $50,000 winner is Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation (AIDFI), a Philippines-based social enterprise that provides reliable drinking water to upland rural areas using a unique hydraulic ram pump.
This is the fifth year since the RELX Group, a leading provider of professional information solutions, has given the award, which supports innovative solutions to improve sustainable access to safe water and sanitation.
Devlina says the inspiration behind her invention was the current water purification scenario in the country. “The current scenario is such that the ground and fresh water resources are getting depleted day by day and require an immediate move to replenish the depleted sources. This circumstance inspired me the most to come up with SALINO,” says Devlina.
Talking about creating SALINO, Devlina says that the product would work in five unit operations. “Each step would be an innovation merged with a technology. We would use solar panels as well. The product would be meant for a large scale installation only. The working might require maintenance by trained personnel. SALINO would target communities and supply drinking water (at a time at least 50 homes) via a pipeline system,” says Devlina.
She adds that with SALINO (whose costing and budgeting are being worked upon) she would like to focus on how this project would help the community. “This award means like achieving a milestone and I would address it as the "stepping stone" to my uprising career. I am grateful to VIT for the amenities provided to me. My mother Dr. Nilanjana Mitra, an alumni of IIT Kharagpur, currently working as a senior professor in VIT has guided me and holds a professional partnership in the project,” says Devlina.
Speaking about this achievement, Dr G Viswanathan says, "Given the need for water preservation and utilization, we are proud to say that our students are understanding their urgency and working towards coming up with a solution. Devlina Das is one of the brightest students of VIT University and we are very proud of her achievement."
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