This young engineer made a wind turbine that generates water and electricity!4 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
Around 88 million people in India do not have access to safe drinking water. The reasons are far and wide right from climatic conditions to groundwater depletion, construction that obstructs rivers to industrial discharge into water bodies.
Madhu Vajrakarur, a 23-year-old electrical engineer from Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, recognised this problem and decided to do something about it. He created a wind turbine at the back of his house that can generate clean water, and electricity!
The wind-ing journey to innovation
Madhu was born and brought up in Vajrakarur village where the main supply of water is through borewells and tankers. During dry spells, people from the village rely on bottled water to make it through the day. Growing up in a low-income household, Madhu saw moments when the dearth of clean drinking water led his family to seek help from their neighbours.
He was all of 7 when he learnt about wind turbines in school. Since, he was too young back then to experiment with technology, he created model versions out of cardboard for school exhibitions. This interest followed him all the way to college where he learnt how to make solar power grids, and automatic street lights in his second year. Then, in October 2020, he heard Prime Minister Narendra Singh Modi on the radio talk about windmills generating water in other countries.
And he set to work. Falling back on Youtube to learn how to combine technologies for generating water and electricity, he started working on models for this innovation. He procured the required source material, and completed the project at the back of his house in 15 days!
How does it work?
Owliver’s Obscure Observations:
A wind turbine works like a fan but does the opposite. It does not use energy. It create more! How does this happen?
It’s simple. The blades of the turbine move because of the kinetic energy of the wind converting it into mechanical energy. The blades are connected to a shaft which catches this energy. This shaft is connected to a generator that creates electricity that we receive in our homes.
Madhu’s turbine is 15 feet tall! It gathers moisture from the atmosphere.
Inside, the turbine, the moisture condenses into water and goes through a copper wire into three layers of filter.
A blower placed at the back of the fan directs moisture into the channel. Once in, the moisture is directed to a cool compressor where it turns into water. The resultant water then moves through a copper membrane to a membrane filter, a carbon filter and a UV filter. These filters eliminate any dust present in the water.
This water can be accessed through a tap placed at the bottom of the frame.
The wind turbine is also connected to an inverter with a 30 kilowatt capacity which is used to harness electricity! Madhu uses this to power or basic electrical needs at home.
Currently, this wind turbine churns out 80-100 litres of water everyday!
The turbine can also bring down the high electricity bills incurred through the use of a motor to pump out water from borewells. His neighbours are excited about this discovery, and are benefitting from it, too.
While other wind turbines need close to INR 35 lakhs to be created, Madhu’s project took just one lakh to be completed. The local administration has acknowledged his work and has taken it to the district collector.
Madhu plans on commercialising this idea and taking it beyond his backyard to other water scarce areas.
Madhu Vajrakarur is a fine example of how education can help bring positive change in the lives of people around you.
So, next time you are sitting in class, listen closely. For all you know, you might end up creating something like this magical wind turbine.
And if you do, let Owliver know. He will fly down to cover you for its next story of innovation and change.
(Buzzing Businesses is a fortnightly column that explores bright ideas that became reality)