Mumbai, Dec 11 (mb): Three students from Mumbai won the prestigious Mondialogo Engineering awards at a ceremony held at the National Centre for Performing Arts on Monday.
Vaibhav Tidke and Darshan Mehta from the Mumbai University Institute of Chemical Technology (MUICT) and Kanishka Kamble from IIT, Mumbai, were part of two different teams, which won the 20,000-euros (Rs11.5 lac) each.
The award was launched by Daimler and Unesco in 2003. Dhanada Mishra from Jagannath Institute of Technology and Management, Orissa, was the other Indian to win the award.
A sum of 3,00,000 euros (Rs1.7 cr) was awarded among 10 winners from the world for making lasting technical improvements in developing countries. A total of 3,200 students from 89 countries had participated in the competition.
Tidke and Mehta, both final year students at MUICT, were a part of the project team involving Veerappan Swaminathan from National University of Singapore as well.
They devised a sustainable model for solar processing of agro products. The team built a solar pond dryer which operates without electricity, to process drying of perishables.
Kamble from IIT, Mumbai, was part of the team that included students from Nepal, Oxford University and University of Tokyo. Their project was related to improving the structural strength under seismic load of buildings in the Himalayan region.
Tidke of MUICT told DNA that salt and water were the only requirements for the storage of solar power. “This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways of extending shelf life of fruits and vegetables by using the freely available solar energy,” he said.
The project consisted of storing heat in a tank that was filled with salted water. The water to salt combination was 10:1. “Due to the salt gradient, hot water stays at the bottom of the tank and this heat is used in producing dry, hot air that is further used for treatment of the perishables,” Vaibhav said.
Using inclined pipes, the air is then passed to fruits that are kept in a container. The air operates at 50 degree Celsius and removes the moisture. “It is possible to store fruits for even 30 days,” Vaibhav said.
Mishra was a part of the team that included Patrick Walsh from University of Illinois. They developed the first prototypes of solar charged, battery operated LED lanterns, to replace for oil lanterns.