Researchers at IIT Madras (IITM) have come up with a new technique where e-waste can be used as a resource not only to treat waste water but also to generate electricity simultaneously. The innovation will help to deal with fast growing menace of hazardous waste in the country. Under this technique, scientists use e-waste component like “LED\LCD (liquid crystal coated polaroid) glass” as an electrode material in ‘Microbial Fuel Cells’ (MFCs), which is primarily a technology used for only waste water treatment. Use of e-waste as an electrode, however, helps it to generate electricity and recover metals for reuse. The MFC is a pollution free process. It considerably reduces the organic waste treatment cost by producing electrical energy without combustion of fossil fuels, said a joint paper of the IITM scientists, Praveena Gangadharan and Indumathi M Nambi in the department of civil engineering at IIT Madras. Technologies available in the country at present are generally meant for only recovering and recycling components like glass, plastic, printed circuit board, hard drives, batteries and valuable metals. However, this new technology can use LED\LCD glass component of e-waste for the twin jobs — waste water treatment and electricity production. Unable to find any taker of this technology at this stage, the IITM is now planning to approach the Technology Development Board (TDB) of the science & technology ministry.
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