IIT Guwahati researchers led by Prof. Tamal Banerjee have successfully produced a novel heat transfer fluid based on nanofluids, which is capable of efficiently transferring heat generated using solar power to desalination systems.
This advancement promises a practical solution for producing potable water from seawater, addressing the pressing issue of global water scarcity.
Prof Tamal Banerjee who led IIT Guwahati researchers is with Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Guwahati.
With the world facing a severe water shortage that outpaces population growth, the demand for desalination, a process that extracts freshwater from saltwater, has become critical, say IIT Guwahati researchers.
However, conventional desalination methods use heat generated by burning fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental challenges, say IIT Guwahati researchers.
The challenge of using CSP for desalination lies in transferring the generated heat from CSP systems to the desalination plants. Common heat transfer fluids, such as molten salts and synthetic oils, present drawbacks, including high melting points and low heat transfer efficiencies.
Additionally, India’s dependence on imported heat transfer fluids escalates capital costs. To address these issues, the IIT Guwahati researchers explored the use of nanofluids, suspensions of nanoparticles in Deep Eutectic Solvent (DES), as an efficient alternative, say IIT Guwahati researchers.
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) that uses sunlight to generate heat is a promising solution to this problem. The IIT Guwahati researchers leveraged the exceptional thermal conductivity and stability of graphene oxide dispersed in a DES , a safe and environmentally friendly solvent.
By modifying graphene oxide with an amine functionality, they achieved enhanced dispersion stability, overcoming the tendency of nanoparticles to clump together, say IIT Guwahati researchers.
Elaborating on the work of IIT Guwahati researchers, Mr Nipu Kumar Das said they developed a nanoparticle-dispersed deep eutectic solvent (NDDES) through precise mixing, demonstrating outstanding thermal conductivity and stability.
This breakthrough has immense potential for sustainable energy applications, particularly in solar energy and desalination, he said speaking about the work done by IIT Guwahati researchers.
The study by IIT Guwahati researchers has demonstrated the superior thermal properties of nanofluids in heat transfer applications. The researchers have also proposed an innovative desalination system utilizing nanofluids and a heat exchanger.
This system aims to achieve a Gain Output Ratio (GOR) of around 10, indicating the potential for generating a larger quantity of freshwater, say IIT Guwahati researchers.
The findings of IIT Guwahati researchers have been published in the journal Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering by the American Chemical Society and was funded by Department of Science and Technology,Govt. of India.
The paper, co-authored by Mr. Nipu Kumar Das, Mr. Somtirtha Santra,Mr. Papu Kumar Naik,Ms. Maureen Shama Vasa, Mr. Rishi Raj, Mr. Suryasarathi Bose, and Prof Tamal Banerjee, can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.2c06325.
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, established in 1994, completed 25 years of glorious existence in 2019.
At present, the Institute has eleven departments, nine interdisciplinary academic centres and five schools covering all the major engineering, science, healthcare, management, and humanities disciplines.
Courses offered are BTech, BDes, BSc(Hons), MA, MDes, MTech, MSc, MS(R), MBA and PhD programmes.
The institute offers a residential campus to 439 faculty members and more than 8,600 students at present.
IIT Guwahati has retained the 7th position among the best engineering institutions of the country and 9th position in both ‘Overall’ and ‘Research’ Categories in the ‘India Rankings 2023’ declared by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) of the Union Ministry of Education.
IIT Guwahati has achieved rank 6 in the SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy) globally in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2023.
It is the only academic institution in India that occupied a place among the top 100 world universities – under 50 years of age – ranked by London-based Times Higher Education (THE) in 2014 and continues to maintain its superior position even today in various International Rankings.
IIT Guwahati gained rank 32 globally in the ‘Research Citations per Faculty’ category and overall 364 rank in the QS World University Rankings 2024.
Among other frontier areas of research and innovation, IIT Guwahati is working towards augmenting critical science research initiatives in Genomics, Developmental Biology, Health Care and Bioinformatics and Flexible Electronics, among numerous other areas.