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    Non-functional mobile phone chargers, adaptors, calculators, old wires, bulbs, printers, and toners are all part of the e-waste generated at offices, industries, and even households. These mostly get into the regular garbage bags.

    Green Era Recyclers, a seven-month-old start-up by Prasanth Omanakuttan and Syam Premachandran, looks at recycling the e-waste generated in the city. In the last seven months, it has collected and recycled eight to 10 tonnes.

    The firm has recently got a five-year authorisation from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to recycle 150 tonnes of e-waste annually.

    According to Mr. Prasanth, a study on the e-waste inventory shows that Coimbatore generates nearly 2,500 tonnes of e-waste a year. However, most of it goes unsegregated.

    The waste batteries, cartridges, displays, and printers are all collected from institutions, a few houses, and industries and dismantled. The waste is segregated into hazardous and non-hazardous and the non-hazardous waste is recycled. “We also try to recover a lot of materials and refurbish some products,” he said.

    Green Era is in talks with Coimbatore Corporation to collect e-waste from houses in one or two wards initially. “We have designed a special bin for households. It has four compartments to collect bulbs, wires, printers and toners, and miscellaneous items. We will pay an amount for most of these and collect them,” he says. The civic body has asked for some more details on recycling and the company will submit the information in a week or so. The preliminary recycling will be done in Coimbatore and the hazardous waste will be sent to Chennai for safe disposal.

    Started with an investment of ₹15 lakh, the start-up also has a research unit that designs and develops machinery for recycling, “We now have shredder, extruder, and cable stripper,” says Mr. Prasanth. If the machinery available in the market is purchased, a large-scale recylcing plant needs at least ₹2 crore investment. The start-up has machinery that costs much less and plans to commercialise these too.

    “We will go for external funding after developing the machinery,” he said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / by M. Soundariya Preetha / Coimbatore – November 17th, 2017

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    A software engineer is offering guidance to anyone seeking to set up a low-cost rainwater harvesting system

    Sriram Vasudevan, a software engineer, uses his free time for work involving hardware. Not the hardware you associate with computers. He’s working with PVC pipes, L-joints and valves and other material necessary to build rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems. Having set up a self-designed, cost-effective RWH structure at his house in Ramapuram, he is helping others install such structures at theirs.

    He had been researching intensely on how to install cost-effective RWH structures before devising such a model himself. He says this work is motivated by a desire to solve water-related problems in the city. Sometime ago, he posted an announcement on Facebook, expressing his desire to guide anyone who wants to install such an RWH structure. “My friend Balaji set up an RWH structure at his house recently and I was greatly inspired by it. I believe a good RWH structure in each house will help solve many water-related problems in the city,” he says. Here’s how this model works.

    “The rainwater that gets collected in someone’s terrace should be directed to their borewell, well or sump,” he explains. In regular RWH systems, the collected rainwater is directed to a rainwater harvesting pit dug near the house. This pit has a layer of coarse pebbles to help filter impurities and channel the water underground directly. In a variation of this model, Sriram suggests that a valve be placed in the RWH pipes.

    This valve is capable of clearing out the impurities, thereby helping bypass the need for a rainwater harvesting pit.

    Sriram says channeling the collected rainwater directly to the borewell will help improve water quality.

    “There will be a evident change in water quality and taste, post-monsoon,” he says.

    He points out that in case of any overflow in the collection system, an extra tank can always be set up to store excess water.

    Sriram has already helped two residents set up RWH structures at their houses.

    Sriram can be reached at 9944888755

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Anjana Shekar / November 17th, 2017

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    Engineering Export Promotion Council has recognised Coimbatore-based KU Sodalamuthu and Co for the regional export award for 2015-16.

    The company manufactures paper conversion machinery for production of paper cones, tubes, edge protectors and pulp moulded products.

    It claims to be a market leader in India, apart from exporting to more than 60 countries, said its Managing Director K S Balamurugan.

    source: / Business Line / Home> News / The Hindu Bureau / Coimbatore – November 06th, 2017

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    Award-winning geologist C Singaraja explains how what’s happening beneath our feet impacts our lives and health

    It’s Shawshank Redemption in real life. Or, if you prefer, Erin Brockovich. In the first, a banker (Tim Robbins) charged with murder is sent to a high-security prison where he uses his fine knowledge of rocks to dig a tunnel and escape.

    In the second, based on a true story, Erin Brockovich, a law-firm assistant (Julia Roberts) investigates a chemicals company that releases untreated hexavalent chromium thus contaminating groundwater and jeopardising the health of local residents.

    Geologist Dr C Singaraja was recently conferred a Dr APJ Abdul Kalam prize for Young Scientist — 2017, by Marina Labs R&D, Chennai, a Medical Research Center and Biotechnology Company. The award was given in recognition of his study of groundwater. Rocks, water, contamination: how does he join the dots?

    “I did my graduation and post graduation studies in Thoothukudi, and moved to Annamalai University for my M.Phil and doctorate work,” he says. “My paper for MPhil was on how tidal variation affects groundwater along the Cuddalore coast. My PhD thesis on the other hand was on the hydro-geo chemistry of groundwater in Thoothukudi district. This place has sea-water intrusion and heavy-metal pollution by industries. I checked the land for the presence of radon and fluoride and their effect on groundwater.”

    He listed the findings. Groundwater is impacted by salt content in coastal regions. In inland areas the weathering of bed-rock leaches mica, fluorite and fluoro-apatite into groundwater. The report educates panchayats and builders about water quality, and the reasons why it gets contaminated.

    Singaraja also worked as an assistant on a project that surveyed soil in Thoothukudi, Dindigul, Krishnagiri, Nagapattinam, Puducherry and Villuppuram. He prepared a groundwater quality index, and pointed to where people could find good aquifer zones.

    The team tested and labelled water quality region-wise based on scientific parameters. “In Cuddalore district we showed how tidal waves and salt-pans impacted water salinity, and how this affected sea creatures. We devised a method to remove excess fluoride from water using natural materials,” he says

    Since 2009 Singaraja has been part of several soil-testing projects and has written 40 papers on hydro-geology. “Rocks don’t change for millennia, but water content does, indicating what’s happening beneath our feet and how it impacts our lives and health.” He also studies what he calls medical geology. “It looks into the health effects of rocks,” he explains. For example, granite, a source rock, contains naturally-occurring uranium and radon, and exposure to weather makes uranium radio-active and radon into gas. These run into groundwater, making it unsafe.

    Doing research on water quality in 100-plus villages was memorable. “Some villagers noticed the instrument we dipped in the water and accused us of poisoning their sources. Others knew what we were doing and asked us to check the water in wells in their homes. Still others requested us to bore wells for them. We helped farmers identify zones to dig for water.” That’s a lot of passion in someone who calls himself a reluctant geologist. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after school. A cousin had studied Geology and was doing well with the Geological Survey of India. I joined VOC, Thoothukkudi, which has a well-known 85-year-old Geology Department. I soon warmed up to my subject.”

    Talking about the water in Chennai, he says boiling drinking water will make it salt-free. “Store can water in porous mud pots, so the pH increases through air circulation. It’s good for health. Check common water for fluoride. Beyond 1.5 mg/litre it could cause yellowing teeth and problems with bones.”

    He adds, “Never buy land or construct houses without first testing the soil for curability; and water for elements within permissible levels. Certain types of soil swell with water and shake the foundation. The effects of groundwater contamination show up slowly after regular intake. Rain-water harvesting purifies groundwater. So opt for preventive measures.”

    He adds, “Geology is currently an important subject. Future wars will be fought over fresh water… Research on groundwater components can get you two Nobels — for Science and for Peace.”

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Society / by Geeta Padmanabhan / November 06th, 2017

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    Dr Krishnamoorthy Srinivas

    Dr Krishnamoorthy Srinivas

    Chennai :

    More than 50 years ago when many doctors were leaving India in search of green pastures, Dr Krishnamoorthy Srinivas returned home. The clinical neurologist, who had ensured free or subsidised but quality care for all his patients since then, breathed his last in a private hospital at Mylapore at 6.10am on Wednesday. He was 84.

    “He went into coma on Sunday and never woke up,” said his son Dr Ennapadam S Krishnamoorthy, a neuropsychiatrist.

    Senior doctors, patients, industrialists and several eminent people paid their last respects to Dr Srinivas who had always looked into his patients’ eyes and listened to them.

    After landing in Chennai with three FRCPs and intensive training in Canada, Dr Srinivas worked in Voluntary Health Services, a hospital founded Dr K S Sanjeevi, and in the Public Health Centre at West Mambalam.

    “I started my training in July 1959 at Montreal, Canada. Fifty-six years have passed since I entered neurology. Essentially, I am a clinical neurologist with interests in the welfare of patients, especially in patient care, in clinical diagnosis and teaching. I follow Sir William Osler’s obiter dictum—placing research after the above are done,” he wrote for a commentary in Neurology India journal in 2015.

    Dr Srinivas belonged to the rare breed of doctors who encouraged patients to speak more in his consultation room.

    One of his students, senior neurologist Dr AV Srinivasan recalled how he would tell his postgraduates. “Hurry, hurry, listen to the patient, he is giving us the diagnosis.”

    He sent them for tests and prescribed medicines only if was convinced that they were necessary. “It is not that he did not believe in scans or other diagnostic tests. He used technology only to enhance his clinical skills,” Dr A V Srinivasan.

    Though research came last, he has authored several papers in peer reviewed journals. He loved teaching and worked as an honorary professor at the Madras Medical College and in several other medical colleges.
    He set up the Institute of Neurological Sciences at the VHS and brought eminent scholars in neurology to speak on fascinating topics such of the brain and mind that would interest not just doctors, but members of the public as well.

    On Wednesday, as he bid adieu, one of his patients, 74-year-old R Venkatraman, said, “His work is done. He may now rest forever.”

    The last rites will be held in the Mylapore crematorium at 5pm.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / Pushpa Narayan / TNN / November 01st, 2017

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    October 30th, 2017adminEducation, Records, All, Science & Technologies


    • The students fabricated 45 robots to clean simultaneously for over 15 minutes.
    • A major aim of the initiative was to sustain, spread and strengthen the concept of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
    The robots cleaned an area of 750 square feet simultaneously

    The robots cleaned an area of 750 square feet simultaneously

    Chennai :

    IIT-Madras students have set the Asia and India records for operating the largest number of robots to clean an area.

    The students fabricated 45 robots to clean simultaneously for over 15 minutes.

    A total of 270 students from various disciplines participated in the CFI Workshop at IIT-Madras on Sunday where the robots cleaned an area of 750 square feet.

    Each robot had a high RPM motor at its centre, with two rotating scrub pads that directed the dust into the central suction mechanism, which was collected by a filter in the vacuum tunnel.

    The robots were controlled over Bluetooth via an Android-based application.

    Representatives of the Asia Book of Records and the India Book of Records adjudicated the event, which took place at Students Activities Centre on the campus.

    A provisional certificate was awarded after the successful completion of the exercise.

    The final certification would follow after validation and assessment of the record evidences.

    Another major aim of this initiative was to sustain, spread and strengthen the concept of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, said the institute.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / by Vinayashree J / TNN / October 30th, 2017

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    “The functionalisation process avoids the use of organic solvents. This makes it safe and eco-friendly,” says Pradeep (second from right).

    “The functionalisation process avoids the use of organic solvents. This makes it safe and eco-friendly,” says Pradeep (second from right).

    The material can be coated on a variety of surfaces including glass and paper

    Nanocellulose-based liquid dispersion that renders the coated surface extremely water repellent — superhydrophobic with water contact angle more than 160 degrees — has been developed by a team of researchers led by Prof. T. Pradeep from the Department of Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras.

    The material can be coated on a variety of surfaces including glass and paper. It has several distinct properties such as high mechanical durability and chemical stability. Like other superhydrophobic materials, the dispersion-coated surface exhibits microbial resistance thus preventing biofouling.

    The researchers used cellulose nanofibres (5-20 nm wide and more than 500 nm in length) and functionalised them with flurosilane in water over six-seven hours at room temperature. The linkage of fluorosilane with cellulose happens through the hydroxyl groups present on cellulose.

    The functionalisation makes the long fibres of cellulose, resembling bamboo poles of molecular dimensions, to be covered with fluoroalkyl groups. This reduces the surface energy of cellulose fibres. Low surface energy together with enhanced surface roughness at nanoscale renders the coated surface highly water-repellent. Tiny water droplets dropped from a height bounced off the coated surface attesting the extreme water-repellence. Other tests too confirmed superhydrophobicity.

    “The functionalisation process avoids the use of organic solvents. This makes it safe and eco-friendly. This science helps expand the use of sustainable materials. And similar to water, the dispersion is not sticky thus making it easy to coat or spray paint on any surface,” says Prof. Pradeep.

    Superior durability

    The coating exhibited superior mechanical durability even when subjected to a variety of abrasion tests — scratches using a knife, peel-off test and sand paper abrasion. “There was negligible reduction in water repellence even when subjected to wear and tear. The covalent linkages between the cellulose fibres provide superior mechanical stability to the coating,” Prof. Pradeep says. The coating also strongly adheres to the surface.

    Even when exposed to organic solvents such as hexane and ethanol, the coating exhibited chemical stability and retained its extreme water-repelling property. “The coating absorbs organic solvents. Once the coating dries, which happens very quickly, the water-repelling property returns,” says Avijit Baidya from the Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras and the first author of the paper published in the journal ACS Nano.

    “The coating remained stable even when subjected to extreme temperatures of 200 degree and –80 degree and exposed to direct sunlight,” says Baidya. “The longevity was also tested for two years under laboratory conditions.”

    Despite the extreme water repelling property, coated paper absorbs organic components. “Since ink has organic components, the coating allows the ink to diffuse. Unlike normal paper where the ink washes off when exposed to water, the ink on the coated paper remained intact even when in contact with water,” says Baidya.

    Though the coating strongly adheres to glass and exhibits all the desirable properties, light transmission gets compromised as the coating turns the glass white. “This material is truly not for glass. Better applications will be in paints and for coating the paper used for printing currency,” says Baidya.

    The team is already working to address the issue of light transmission by using a starting material other than cellulose. “We have nearly developed a superhydrophobic material that remains transparent once coated,” says Prof. Pradeep, who is the corresponding author.

    “We are willing to commercialise the product either through a start-up or by licensing it. We have already filed for a patent,” He says.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Science / by R Prasad / October 28th, 2017

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    Chennai :

    Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Madras Section has won the R10 Large Section Award, among several member countries, for its contribution to the student community and professions and in advancing technology for humanity.

    IEEE Madras Section comes under the Region 10 (R10), which consists of countries from the Southeast Asia including Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.

    The award, which the IEEE Madras Section has won, was initiated by IEEE R10 for the R10 Section. The award is given for multifaceted achievements like conducting a variety of events benefiting students and professionals and made significant contribution to the basic goal of ‘advancing technology for humanity’.

    IEEE, which dates back to 1884, has four lakh members in 160 countries. It has been divided into 10 regions globally. The professional body has award winning publications and technical societies, provides career resources and recognition, facilitates professional networking and offers volunteering opportunities in humanitarian projects.

    IEEE Madras Section has more than 8500 members from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The Madras Section has been organising many activities for professionals and students from engineering colleges and students aspiring for engineering and science courses.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / by U. Tejonmayam / TNN / October 26th, 2017

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    Tirunelveli :

    As part of the World Space Week celebrations, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is organising a mega ‘Space Expo’ at S.T. Hindu College in Nagercoil from October 5 to 8.

    S.R. Vijayamohanakumar, chairman, Publicity Committee, ‘World Space Week 2017’, said the exhibition would showcase ISRO’s space research programmes from its humble beginning through display panels and exhibits. The exhibition would also cover applications of India’s space programmes for the benefit of common man.

    The pavilion would have models of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), Reusable Launch Vehicle, GSLV MK III engine, liquid and cryogenic engines and Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) recovered after the flight in December 2014.

    The expo was the first of its kind in Tamil Nadu in terms of size and contents, which would benefit the public, especially students, immensely, the organisers said. The free exhibition, to be inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping Pon. Radhakrishnan in the presence of K. Sivan, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, would be open to public from 9.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. on all days.

    Mr. Vijayamohanakumar said a range of lectures on space science, ISRO’s feats, careers in ISRO, etc., would be delivered by experts as part of the expo. An open forum would be organised on the last day of the event, in which a panel of experts from various walks of life would participate.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by Special Correspondent / October 04th, 2017

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    India Yamaha Motor (IYM) Pvt Ltd on Friday achieved a milestone by rolling out the one-millionth two-wheeler to be produced at its Chennai, Tamil Nadu factory in two-and-a-half years of operations. The millionth two-wheeler to be produced at the Yamaha premises is a unit of the Yamaha Fascino. India Yamaha Motor has reached this figure on the back of good sales of its two-wheelers including the Ray Z, Ray ZR and Alpha scooters, and the Saluto and Saluto RX motorcycles. Yamaha had begun operations at the Chennai facility in March 2015 with an initial production capacity of 4.5 lakh units per year, ramping it up to 6 lakh units this year. India Yamaha Motor now aims to produce 9 lakh units per annum by 2019 at the Chennai factory and 7 lakh units at its facility in Surajpur, Chattisgarh, taking total production to 1.6 million units in two years. Yamaha recently launched the Fazer 25 faired version or its FZ25  250cc motorcycle. To boost sales, Yamaha has also been launching scooter boutiques in select cities of the country.


    IYM deputy MD Riuji Kawashima said that the company would continue to enhance the production facilities in India to better serve the Indian market. Yamaha has so far invested Rs 1,300 crore in the Chennai Factory and plans to invest more than Rs 200 crore by 2018. Out of one million products manufactured from the Chennai Factory, 8.5 lakh units have been manufactured for the domestic market and remaining 1.5 lacs units for the export market including African market as well as ASEAN and Latin American markets. Yamaha Fascino is the most produced model with 3.7 lakh units. The production percentage ratio of the scooter & motorcycle production at the factory is 7:3 right now. The models with highest export numbers were the FZ series, Ray ZR, and Fascino.

    source:  / OverDrive / Home> News / Team OD / September 22nd, 2017

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