This De­vice will End Water­borne Dis­eases

The Economic Times - - Power Of Ideas -

borewell hand pump, you will get dis­in­fected wa­ter in­stan­ta­neously. It does not re­quire any con­sum­ables and has zero main­te­nance… very low capex. So, in un­der­served ar­eas, if you just fit it in a borewell hand pump, you can for­get di­ar­rhoea, cholera and ty­phoid for­ever,” Mukher­jee is heard telling the Prime Min­is­ters of In­dia and Is­rael in a video shot by Is­rael’s Gov­ern­ment Press Of­fice.

Tar­al­tec So­lu­tions, his com­pany, was one of the four star­tups cho­sen by gov­ern­ment think tank Niti Aayog to rep­re­sent the coun­try at an In­dia-Is­rael tech in­no­va­tion ex­hi­bi­tion on wa­ter, health and agri­cul­ture. The other star­tups were Perfint, Ax­io­stat and Bar­rix.

It was un­usual for Mukher­jee to se­cure an au­di­ence with Modi and Ne­tanyahu, since his startup was just seven-months old. But the startup’s prod­uct is un­usual too.

Its biomimicry-based tech­nol­ogy, which al­lows the tiny re­ac­tor to kill 99% of the mi­crobes in wa­ter (as per NABL-ap­proved lab tests), is based on a sci­en­tific phe­nom­e­non called cav­i­ta­tion. Un­der­wa­ter a snap­ping shrimp (al­phi­dae) shoots jets of wa­ter by snap­ping shut its claws to knock out its prey, caus­ing voids or cav­i­ta­tion bub­bles. Th­ese bub­bles, as they im­plode, re­lease mi­cro­sized pack­ets of en­ergy with tem­per­a­tures of sev­eral thou­sand de­grees, pres­sure of hun­dreds of bars and huge tur­bu­lence.

“Our re­ac­tor cre­ates mil­lions of such voids or cav­i­ta­tion bub­bles with wa­ter jets. When it im­plodes, the im­plo­sion cre­ates shock waves which in­stan­ta­neously kill all the germs in the wa­ter be­ing pumped out,” Mukher­jee told ET in an in­ter­view. The startup won a Rs 25-lakh cheque from In­dia In­no­va­tion Growth Pro­gramme 2.0 — a con­test run by De­part­ment of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, Lock­heed Mar­tin and Tata Trusts.

The next step for Tar­al­tec, Mukher­jee said, is scal­ing up pro­duc­tion as de­mand for the re­ac­tors grows — mostly from CSR de­part­ments of large cor­po­ra­tions. He also hopes for the gov­ern­ment to adopt the re­ac­tor, which elim­i­nates chances of water­borne dis­eases, in its var­i­ous wel­fare schemes. “We have set up clus­ters of third party op­er­a­tions to in­crease pro­duc­tion,” he said.

As of now, there are nearly 100 Tar­al­tec re­ac­tors dis­in­fect­ing wa­ter in hand pumps in ru­ral Ma­ha­rash­tra and Jhark­hand. The re­ac­tor, Mukher­jee said, is priced less than Rs 6,000, weighs about a kg, runs with­out power and takes 15 min­utes to in­stall.

He said Tar­al­tec’s tech­nol­ogy, for which he has ap­plied for a patent, works at large scale too. His com­pany has in­stalled re­ac­tors to dis­in­fect in­dus­trial wa­ter at a fac­tory of a multi­na­tional au­to­mo­bile com­pany. Mukher­jee, an IIT Bom­bay dropout who be­came a marine en­gi­neer and then stud­ied at IIM Ban­ga­lore, said his jour­ney as an en­tre­pre­neur for the past two decades has sim­ply been about per­se­ver­ance and the sup­port of peo­ple, one least ex­pects to get help from. “It’s like jump­ing from the 30th floor hop­ing some­one will catch you. And some­one does. Trust me.”

An­jan Mukher­jee pre­sent­ing prod­uct be­fore PMs of In­dia & Is­rael

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