Published: 17th August 2021
To make public transport safer, this self-sanitising coating is the way to go, say these Hyd students
Four students of Geethanjali College of Engineering and Technology worked hard to on a coating that self-sanitises with the power of the Sun and are impressing many with their idea. Check it out
As avid public bus users, Harshith Varma, Sunny Raj, Sai Varun and Abhishek Bhemisetty, students of Geethanjali College of Engineering and Technology, Hyderabad, were quite bummed with the flouting of COVID protocols on public transport. "Sanitising was done only at the starting and final point and this made me very anxious," says Harshith. Now picture this: A photocatalytic coating that self-sanitises surfaces at multiple points in the day and derives its power from the almighty Sun. This is the solution that the quartet came up with. It might sound like it's come straight out of a sci-fi movie but believe us when we say that the youngsters have poured over Google Scholar for days together to ascertain that this is a viable option. This idea made a huge splash at the Innovation Challenge conducted by J-HUB, JNTU (Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University), Hyderabad's initiative which is known for furthering the cause of innovation, in July 2021, and the team emerged as winners. Now, they are eyeing the AICTE Vishwakarma Awards.
Harshith Varma | (Pic: Harshith Varma)
Titanium dioxide — or rather a specific variant of it that the students would like to remain tight-lipped about — is the star ingredient here. As soon as sunlight falls on any surface coated with it, a photocatalytic reaction occurs that releases water vapour and, at the same time, kills all the pathogens on it. "Just one coat would last about four months, making it cost-effective for the government as well. And in the absence of sunlight, a solar panel on the rooftop of the bus could help. A small microcontroller will switch on the solar-powered lamp automatically and the sanitisation process will continue. This idea was of Sunny Raj," says the third-year Computer Science Engineering (CSE) student. Moreover, this chemical is non-toxic and completely safe for usage in public transport, he tells us. The chemical, though used commonly in various industries, became notoriously difficult to procure and the college stepped in to help with this.
Sai Varun, Sunny Raj and Harshith Varma
While Harshith and Sunny have been part of the project from the start, the college insisted that Varun, a mechanical student with sound knowledge of structural integrity and design, plus Abhishek, a senior pursuing CSE whose forte include microcontrollers and circuits, join the team and help optimise the solution. And look how it paid off. "Truth be told, we were trying for the AICTE Vishwakarma Awards last year itself but we missed out on submitting our idea by a few minutes. We had spent eight months on the idea and were extremely disappointed," shares the 19-year-old. But they kept at it and are now eyeing the prestigious awards once again.