Young Achievers

Ramya Veerubhotla

A woman biotech research scholar at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur has made a promising start with her invention of a unique microbial fuel cell battery.

Eco-evangelist Ramya Veerubhotla (27), an alumna of the National Institute of Technology, Durgapur, bested 1,500 individuals and teams to be adjudged winner of a Rs.10 lakh Platinum prize for her ground-breaking invention — a “lightweight battery fuelled by bacteria in sewage water” — at KPIT Sparkle 2018, a design and innovation talent contest open to engineering and science students countrywide.

This national competition based on the theme ‘Next Generation Energy/Transportation Solutions,’ organised annually by the Innovation Council of the Pune-based KPIT Technologies Ltd (estb.1990) in association with the Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering (PCCOE), Akurdi, attracted 12,000 entries from 600 science and engineering colleges including 28 premier IITs and the NITs, among others. Working models of the top 30 finalist colleges were assessed, evaluated, and adjudged at the PCCOE exhibition grounds, Pune on February 18 by a high-powered jury of eminent industry experts, technologists, academics and business leaders.

Ramya’s innovative fuel cell battery was submitted under the green technology category. “My 4 cm x 4 cm battery device is equipped to store 400 micro litres — a few drops — of sewage water. Unlike other microbial fuel cell batteries invented around the world, my battery is paper-packed, lightweight and fully biodegradable. Currently, it generates sufficient — 5 microwatts — energy to power electronic components and micro controllers,” she explains.

Ramya intends to do post-doctoral research after completing her Ph D this July. She is also working on improving the power generation of her device for practical applications. Gearing up for further growth she plans to invest the prize money in research and development of her product. “By the end of this year, I expect to be in a position to apply for a patent and will continue to invent eco-friendly products,” says this responsible, young product innovator. 

 Way to go, Sis!

Baishali Mukherjee (Kolkata)