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Mumbai, Vellore students selected for German honour

Mumbai, Oct 25 (IANS) Two Indian engineering students, one from Mumbai and the other from Tamil Nadu’s Vellore, have been selected for the prestigious Bayer Young Environmentalist Envoy (BYEE) honour and will attend an international conference in Germany next month.

The Mumbai student, Vaibhav Tidke, has also been selected for a rare honour of making a project presentation-cum-demonstration at the international conference of 20 countries.

The BYEE programme was launched a few years ago by the German multinational in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Tidke (24) is a final year student of Master’s in chemical technology at the prestigious Institute of Chemical Technology. Aswin Chandrasekharan is a student of Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), Tamil Nadu.

Tidke submitted a project entitled ‘Solar Processing of Agro-Products’ which is among the two selected from India among 20 participating countries, and will be the only one to make a presentation before an international gathering at the Bayer’s headquarters in Germany, Nov 7-12.

Chandrasekharan of VIT will take part in the same conference and is working on a project on dye-sensitised solar cells and rechargeable cells with a wide variety of applications like mobile phones and music players.

‘I started work on the project in 2007 when I was an undergraduate student here,’ said Tidke, hailing from Ambejogai town in Maharashtra’s Beed district.

Under this technology, solar energy will be harnessed to process fresh fruits, vegetables and marine products.

‘This will increase their shelf life drastically, from a few days to over a year, enable their marketing in the remotest parts of the world, prevent contamination, eliminate wastages and enable all the stake-holders to get the best out of it,’ Tidke said.

This project was awarded a Unesco Top 10 Engineering Innovations Award of Rs.1.20 million in 2007.

‘My mentor and guide, Professor B.N. Thorat, is now looking at commercialisation of this technology, for which our team is now working full steam,’ Tidke said.

The challenge is to make proper equipment for the technology and commercial exploitation which would bring it within the reach of the commonest players, for which he attended a special session at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, said Tidke.

In order to recognise and propagate the objective of science for the benefit of society, Tidke has set up a research and development -based NGO, Science 4 Society (S4S).

The objectives of S4S are to design and develop prototypes of various scientific technologies for the developing world.

Besides solar food processing, under S4S, work is currently on for projects like water disinfection, renewable energy-based iron (for ironing clothes), low-cost medical instruments, and giving a platform for undergraduate research.

‘Through S4S, the first commercial solar food processing plant will be inaugurated in my home town, Ambejogai, next year,’ he said.

Tidke also participated as a foreign delegate at the Asian Youth Energy Summit in Singapore in 2008 and 2009 and made a presentation of the different works under S4S.

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