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Sustainable waste water treatment through bio-photoelectro catalysis and biofuel production

Primary Information



Project No.


Sanction and Project Initiation

Sanction No: 7801

Sanction Date: 18/07/2017

Project Initiation date: 18/07/2017

Project Duration: 36

Partner Ministry/Agency/Industry

1. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Goverment of India 2. Eco Laboratories and Consultants Pvt. Ltd. Mohali, Punjab

Role of partner:Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Goverment of India has funded the half research expenditure of this project. Eco Laboratories and Consultants Pvt. Ltd. Mohali, Punjab has agreed to provide technical support and sharing of their experience related to design and development of sewerage treatment plants, technical help in fabrication of the proposed prototype, exploration of business prospects of the developed product.

Support from partner:Partners are contributing according to their commitment.

Principal Investigator

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Dr. Atul DharPrimary
Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh-175001

Host Institute


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Dr. S. Venkata Mohan
CSIR- Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad-500 007, India

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Dr . Rahul Vaish
Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh-175001

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Dr. Shyam Kumar Masakapalli
Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh-175001

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Dr. Tulika Prakash Srivastava
Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh-175001

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Dr. Rik Rani Koner
Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh-175001

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Dr. Aditi Halder
Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh-175001

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Dr. Satvasheel Powar
IIT Mandi-175001

Scope and Objectives

Add on bio-photo-electro catalyst system based reactor to waste water treatment plants for producing biofuels like hydrogen (H2), methane (CH4) and hythane, which includes following sub-objectives. Detailed profiling and formulation of efficient microbial consortia based on waste water substrates (including carbon loading) towards commercially feasible hythane yields. Use the novel photoelectrocatalysts (PECs) developed to enhance H2 yield. Design and prototype development of reactor for various scales. Hythane separation and storage for commercial application. Disinfection of treated wastewater prior to discharge to the environment.


Design of wastewater treatment plant, which can treat wastewater and produce purified hythane. Demonstration prototype of above design for 1000 LPD plant.

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Scientific Output

The antibacterial performance of BCZTO poled and unpoled samples were examined. Approximately 88% of Escherichia coli degradation was recorded at the end of 1 h without any external intervention. Surface selective bacterial degradation was observed in poled materials. It was found that reactive oxygen species produced through electrocatalysis of water molecules play a crucial role in bacterial disinfection. The rate of bacterial degradation was further increased using ultrasonication with poled piezoelectric ceramics. Complete abolition of bacterial growth was achieved within 30?min of treatment with poled piezoelectric ceramic in an ultrasonicator. Results indicate that ferroelectric materials have substantial untapped potential in the field of antimicrobial methods. Biohythane production from PT systems ranged between 294 mL (PT-6) to 359 mL (PT-7), however UT bioreactor showed higher biohythane production (378mL for UT-6) and 453 mL UT-7). The composition of biohythane was analyzed based on the fraction of H2 (%) and CH4 (%) evolved in the bioreactor during operation. Bioreactor with higher CH4 and lower H2 showed the good biohythane composition of 0.26 (H2/H2+CH4) (UT-7) followed by 0.33 (H2/H2+CH4) (UT-6).

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Results and outcome till date

Design and Fabrication of laboratory scale 20 LPD reactor and integration of processes, with partial process automation. Profiling of waste water though aid of study on physicochemical properties and GC-MS based organic molecular analysis. Selection and testing of flocculating agent as a pre-bioprocessing step. Analysis of water profiles post flocculation. Establishment of process protocol for selection of efficient microbial consortia. Fabrication of polymer fiber filter membrane using solution blowing. Model testing of the filtration process of waste water using polymer fiber filter membrane. Study on surface active antimicrobial mechanism with improvement of bacterial disinfection rate through material selection. Development and fabrication of antibacterial transparent glass ceramics for water cleaning application.

Societal benefit and impact anticipated

Successful implementation of this prototype will make the wastewater treatment sustainable by recovering part of invested energy. If decentralized treatment becomes attractive then it will also help in resue of waste water, which will solve the problem of water scarcity. Use of treated water for ground water recharge will be helpful for popularizing the ground water recharge.

Next steps

Design of Compact Pilot Scale Sewage Treatment Plant (STP; 500 LPD) Integrated with Anaerobic Digestion (25 kg/day) Experiments for finding optimum operational conditions (pH, carbon loading) for hythane production.

Publications and reports

1. Sandeep Kumar, Rahul Vaish, and Satvasheel Powar. Surface-selective bactericidal effect of poled ferroelectric materials. Journal of Applied Physics 124, 014901 (2018); doi: 10.1063/1.5024721 2. Lalita Sharma, and Aditi Halder, Synergistic Effect in Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Evolution by RGO-Supported Nickel Molybdenum Catalysts. Chemistry Select, Volume 3, Issue31, August 23, 2018;



Scholars and Project Staff

1. Shatabisha 2. Lalita Sharma 3. Hemant Thakur 4. Jyotika Thakur 5. Kushal Deep 6. Om Prakash Sarkar

Challenges faced

Start of the project was slightly delayed due delay in process of manpower recruitment and signing of MoU with Partner Institute (IICT Hyderabad) and Industrial partner (Eco Paryavaran Engineers & Consultants Pvt. Ltd.). Reaching the full strength of the approved manpower and formalise collaborative network took few months and hence was slightly delayed.

Financial Information

  • Total sanction: Rs. 38434000

  • Amount received: Rs. 23872500

  • Amount utilised for Equipment: Rs. 523750

  • Amount utilised for Manpower: Rs. 1370737

  • Amount utilised for Consumables: Rs. 1896513

  • Amount utilised for Contingency: Rs. 25887

  • Amount utilised for Travel: Rs. 67578

  • Amount utilised for Other Expenses: 0

  • Amount utilised for Overheads: Rs. 3098083

Equipment and facilities

Procurement process for purchase of Bioreactors, Gas Chromatography, Peristaltic pumps, Gas Flow Meter is under progress.

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