Kolkata: A two-student team of IIT Kharagpur has won the gold medal at the Green Brain of the Year competition recently organised by the Middle East Technical University of Turkey, the institute said on Thursday.
The team of final year B.Tech students Shruti Sarode and Ashutosh Singh of the Department of Biotechnology proposed a microalgae-mediated wastewater treatment process which simultaneously has the potential to address the problems of carbon dioxide emissions and energy crisis, the IIT said in a media release.
The duo won a prize money of 1,000 euros each in a field of 328 teams from 24 countries in the fifth edition of the competition devised to enhance the international awareness among youth of the vital triad: sustainable environment, sustainable energy, and sustainable water resources.
The two students have been working on the topic based on their B.Tech project.
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.