Thursday June 21, 2018

Pulluvila: a sleepy Kerala hamlet has earned place on global sanitation map

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Thiruvananthapuram: Pulluvila, a sleepy hamlet located close to the airport here, has earned a place for itself on the global sanitation map — it boasts of the world’s first eToilet, which also uses technology that turns waste into fertilizer, generates power, and even makes potable water.

Since January, a local church-run school here is successfully hosting a pilot project where over 150 students use two eToilets that have incorporated technology developed by the University of South Florida (USF) called NEWgenerator — with NEW standing for nutrients, energy and water.

This is the first time that the award-winning automated electronic toilet, or eToilet — developed by local firm Eram Scientific Solutions using a Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation grant — has been married to the NEWgen technology, also funded by grants from the foundation.

Eram’s eToilets see the convergence of electronics, mechanical, web-mobile technologies to control the entry, usage, cleaning, exit, and remote monitoring of the toilet. And NEWgen is a machine in a box that recycles water, harvests energy, creates fertilizers and, ultimately, turns waste into profit.

In simple terms, said Anvar Sadath, CEO of Eram, what NEWGen does is to process the entire waste from the two eToilets.

“The water that comes out as waste from the toilets is recycled and goes back in and is used for flushing, while the solid waste is converted into nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which can be stored and used as fertilizers. The gas from urine is converted into methane and can be used for burning,” Sadath told IANS.

The eToilet itself is revolutionary. A coin opens the door for the user and switches on a light — thus saving energy — and directs the person with audio commands. It is programmed to flush 1.5 liters of water after three minutes of usage or 4.5 liters if usage is longer. They are also programmed to clean the platform with a complete wash down after 10 or so uses.

Eram is the sole manufacturer of eToilets in India and has set up more than 1,600 eToilets in around 19 states.

“With our experience in successfully inducting high technology into the sanitation sector and simplifying it for the user, we are confident that this integrated system will be adopted for its simplicity and mass scalability,” said Sadath.

The Pulluvila pilot project is part of an India-specific program modelled on the Gates Foundation’s global Reinvent the Toilet Challenge and is called RTTC-India.

Daniel H. Yeh, associate professor at USF’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, first came up with the idea of a “resource-recovery machine” while he was working on his post-doctorate at Stanford University.

“So what that means is it converts the waste materials — either human waste or food waste, various types of wastewater,” Yeh is quoted as saying on the USF website. “We will convert that to beneficial products: nutrients, energy and water.”

“We’re mimicking what nature does very efficiently, but in a very compact, engineered system, so nothing goes to waste and everything is repurposed.”

“Both Eram and USF are hopeful that the system would promote sustainable sanitation services for both the poor and urban regions. It is a truly inspirational next generation product that everyone will want to use in developed as well as developing nations,” said Yeh.

For these two organizations the biggest impetus was a statement that Bill Gates made in January 2015, after drinking a glass of recycled water.

“I watched the piles of faeces go up the conveyer belt and drop into a large bin. They made their way through the machine, getting boiled and treated. A few minutes later I took a long taste of the end result, a glass of delicious drinking water,” Gates had said.

“These words of his really pumped us and now this pilot project at Pulluvila is going to run till the end of this year, when we will sit down to take this to the next step of commercialization,” said Sadath. (Sanu George, IANS)

  • gauri

    at last some serous efforts in india find aplace on global map.

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A Chit Fund Scheme By KSFE Will Be Inaugurated By CM In UAE Next Month

Programme enables person who joins to complete every process online

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A Chit Fund Scheme By KSFE Will Be Inaugurated By CM In UAE Next Month
A Chit Fund Scheme By KSFE Will Be Inaugurated By CM In UAE Next Month, flickr

The Kerala government’s dream programme to raise money from its diaspora through “chitties”, or a chit fund scheme launched by state-run Kerala State Financial Enterprise (KSFE), will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in UAE next month, Finance Minister Thomas Issac said on Monday.

In an interaction with editors of the Kerala media, he said all the requisite permissions have been obtained from all authorities.

“This programme was initiated by the previous UDF government and the permission to go ahead came at its fag end. After we came to power, we took this forward and all permissions and sanctions are ready and all those diaspora who wish to participate in it can join,” said Issac.

“On June 12, Vijayan will launch the registration process and all those who wish to enter the scheme can register in the KSFE site. Once Vijayan launches the programme in UAE, next month, the chitty scheme will be open,” he added.

Coins
Coins, Pixabay

KSFE Chairman Philipose Thomas said to start with, those who wish to participate can contribute monthly as low as Rs 3,000 to a high of Rs 25,000.

“The duration of the chitty given the nature of the job scenario in the Middle East is kept from a minimum of 30 months to a maximum of 60 months. Once a diaspora member joins he can pay the monthly contribution through his non-resident ordinary account and at the end of the chitty term, the payment will be made to his non-resident ordinary account,” he said.

“The programme enables each person who joins the chitty to complete every process online, which includes even bidding, and at the end of the period, the money will be credited into their bank account. Every aspect of the online process has been tested,” said Unni Krishnan who heads the technology division of the chitty scheme.

The entire programme is being handled by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board, a government-owned financial institution meant to mobilize funds for infrastructure development outside state revenue.

Its Chief Executive K.M. Abraham, who is a former state Chief Secretary, said that no one needs to donate anything, but only to join a chitty where the money collected will be deposited in bonds and used for the state’s development needs.

“At the end of the chitty, it’s a win-win situation for both the person who joined the chitty and for the state government,” he added.

Kerala CM, Pinarayi Vijayan with PM Narendra Modi
Kerala CM, Pinarayi Vijayan with PM Narendra Modi, flickr

Also read: Reliance home finance celebrates 46 growth in income

According to the latest study report on the diaspora, 90 per cent of 23.63 lakh Keralites aboard are in the various Middle East countries, of which UAE accounts for 38.7 per cent, followed by Saudi Arabia with 25.2 per cent. (IANS)