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IIT Guwahati, Bombay, European partners building sensor to check water quality

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati and Bombay in collaboration with European universities are working towards building a low-cost technology to check the quality of potable and other water in India.

The LOTUS Indo-European project, an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and the European Commission, is aimed at providing solutions for issues related to the quality of water supplied across Indian households and elsewhere.

A core element of the LOTUS project is a novel water quality sensor that builds on previous work done at Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France.

The sensor was further developed during the project by researchers at Université Gustave Eiffel in collaboration with IIT Guwahati and the SME EGM, Sophia Antipolis, France.

According to S Senthilmurugan, Chairperson, Technology Incubation Centre, IIT Guwahati, LOTUS water quality sensor requirements were established after collecting information from Indian water utility owners, operators, end users, and research and development experts and therefore LOTUS sensor is expected to satisfy Indian water industries.

“Successful commercialisation of the LOTUS water quality sensor will provide a low-cost water quality monitoring and safe drinking water supply solution to the Indian citizens which is in line with the vision of the Jal Jeevan Mission of the government of India and its Make-in-India initiative.

“Even during COVID times, the LOTUS team from IIT Guwahati was able to continue the groundwater sample collection and sensor development work with minimal delay,” he said.

For the commercial production of the sensor for the Indian market, IIT Guwahati is collaborating with Linxens India Private Limited and Hydroscope Technology Private Limited, a start-up firm.

The process of technology licensing between both companies and the LOTUS team (IIT Guwahati and Université Gustave Eiffel) is in progress.

“The LOTUS sensor developed at IIT Guwahati is being designed to address sensing needs and quality control aspects across different use case scenarios encompassing safe drinking water, agricultural water and wastewater.

“The overall framework including the LOTUS sensor, and the quality monitoring and control algorithms developed at IIT Bombay, would be developed and deployed on platforms to provide improved solutions to address major water quality control issues across the country,” said Ravindra Gudi, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Bombay.

The core of the LOTUS sensor is a chip with carbon nanotube-based sensing elements that are capable of measuring multiple quality parameters such as Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Potential of Hydrogen (pH), chlorine, and arsenic.

The components of the sensor system include a software that enables water quality monitoring and safe water supply in the piped water network and tanker supply systems.

A portable solar-operated disinfectant system integrated with a water quality controller and another software for the optimisation of the water supply in irrigation, are among the other components of LOTUS sensor. PTI

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