Carbon menace? Indian man's device to help the world go green
By SiliconIndia | Thursday, 26 August 2010, 10:23 Hrs
Virendra's workshop, which started in 1981 by manufacturing iron gates and grills, situated just opposite a school. Since they face frequent power cuts, Virendra had to install a generator that resulted in noise and air pollution, which affected school children and neighbors. "It was difficult to move to a new location for me so I started thinking about ways to control this pollution," says Virendra. This was when he thought about something that could control the pollution and finally he come up with a device that can be attached to a generator or other diesel engines to minimize the noise and smoke, reports Manu A B from Rediff Business. It took him six years of experiments to build the first device. Initially, what started as a mission to carry out his work smoothly, turned into a successful innovation with universal appeal and value.
A patented device, it allows carbon deposits to get collected periodically. This can be reused as raw material for shoe polish and local small-scale industry units. Virendra Kumar is now fine-tuning the device to further reduce noise emanating from engines. His next project is a pollution control device for four-wheelers.
Just like most other innovators in India, Virendra Kumar faces a severe fund crunch. Most of the work is now done manually but if machinery is in place, he can manufacture the device faster and more cost-effectively.
"There has been no recognition for my innovation even in my home state. If the government does not take interest in such innovations, how can we grow? This device can reduce pollution considerably. My dream is to make this device available to people across India," says 62-year-old Virendra Kumar.
This unit was fitted to the 10 HP engine used in his workshop. He found that the noise levels could be brought down considerably. He continued to work on it to make it more efficient. And he managed to get the desired results.
The attachment consists of a cylindrical drum having concentric perforated screens and a few long perforated tubes having equally spaced mesh linings. The cylindrical drum is placed between the generator and the exhaust pipe. The exhaust gases, which enter the unit, strike against the array of protruding fins and perforated tubes continuously. The vortex results in the dissociation of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide into carbon particulates and oxygen.
The innovation also works as a silencer by internally canceling out sound waves as they pass through a series of concentric channels. The carbon-based effluents are removed as soot and solid deposits. As a result the exhaust gases are very clean.
On an average, after 3,000 hours of engine operation, about 5 kg of soot gets collected at the bottom of the drum. In about six to eight months, it collects 12 to 14 kg of carbon, which can be easily taken out.
The testing of the device was done in BIT Mesra, Ranchi. The institute also observed a reduction in carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide up to 30 percent and considerable reduction in temperature.
While it takes one day to make a small device, a bigger one would take two days. Virendra Kumar has sold about 40 pollution control devices for different types of engines so far. The device costs 2500 to 10,000 depending upon the type of engine. While Virendra takes just 5 percent as his profit, this innovation can turn out to be very profitable for small factories and households that use generators.
But no company has come forward to help Virendra. "This is a solution that can solve pollution problems across the world in the most cost-efficient manner. Yet, our government does not care to promote these innovations. The science and technology officials in Bihar were also contacted but nothing has happened so far," he says.
"After I got introduced to the National Innovation Foundation, I have received a lot of exposure," says Virendra. Getting the patent for this device in 2008 was the crowning glory for him. In 2009, Virendra won the NIF's award for innovation from President Pratibha Patil.
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