Young IITians develop diesel from cooking oil

Inside a sanitised room at a remote corner of the huge campus, lay an enormous orange-coloured machine. 

Three young girls busy working on it to the exclusion of everything else, heightens the mystery-level till one of them explains that they “are trying to teach this Kuka Robot to detect the black objects. 

Once it does, the robot will replace the workforce in nuclear power plants to detect uranium pellets and place them in rods to add fuel to the power station, autonomously.

So in case of a blast, there will be no loss of humans,” explains Varnica Jain who is working on this project along with Tania Raghuvanshi and Shraddha Chowdhary.

While Varnica is doing her internship, Tania is pursuing a dual degree in electronic engineering and information and communication technology. 

Shraddha on the other hand is a PhD student at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Delhi) but all three, like many others, were eager to explain about their work.
 
And why not, for the IIT Open House is possibly the only platform where young engineers can mingle with inquisitive minds and demonstrate their research work. 

The 10th edition of the recently held IIT Open House witnessed an energised lot of young technologists from various sub-streams, who exhibited around 500 projects.

While the robots ruled in the electrical department, it was the protection of buildings that remained the concern of civil engineering students.

The creation of ‘Sustainable Tall Buildings’ or green buildings by Ashish Jaiswal and Pranav Choudhary proved the concern of budding engineers, it was the project ‘Seismic Protection of Structures Using Passive Tendon System’ that touched an instant chord with the viewers. 

“We have proposed the use of triangular pulley mechanism and lowering of weights (tendons) in buildings to make them resist earthquake tremors,” informs Piyush Srivastav as Pooja Kudesia gives a jerk to both the square structures placed in front making the steadiness of the structure with tendons visible. 

Their teammate Navadha Khera adds, “This is easy to install, construct and therefore relatively cheaper than other mechanisms that protect buildings from earthquakes.” Their innovative thinking has won them the Special Jury Award!

It is, however, the simpler models such as ‘Eco Enzyme Cleaner’ and ‘Production, Characterization & Process Optimisation of Biodiesal from Waste Cooking Oil’ from chemical engineering department that were quite impressive and looked viable 
too. Don’t go by their long-winding names!

The former displays a simple process to make “Detergent by stirring a combination of ‘vegetable waste, citrus fruit, brown sugar and dry inactive yeast’ for two weeks constantly,” explains Amar Srivastava, one of the four-member team which boasts that when diluted, the detergent can be used for a range of purposes from bathing to washing. 
 
The latter is a fine idea to mint money by “making car fuel ie diesel from used vegetable oil that usually goes down the drain as waste,” says Abhishek Sharma from the five-member team.
 
Even the waste is not wasted by these innovative minds!

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