Business India ×
 Climate Change

Published on: June 12, 2020, 10:17 p.m.
Taking the stress out of water
  • A solution to slaking global thirst

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India

If there is to be a third world war, many have said, it will be over water. This is the principle Maithri Aquatech founder M. Ramkrishna reiterates in explaining why the atmospheric water generator (AWG) is a technology whose time has come.

With 97 per cent of the water available on the planet being salty, and 2 per cent locked in glaciers, only about 1 per cent is available for usage by all living creatures, flora and fauna. Even this scarce water is being contaminated because of rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, while irregular rainfall, inefficient agricultural practices and lack of conservation efforts compound the problem.

India is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world. Most alarmingly, a recent report released by Niti Aayog says 21 cities, including Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore, are expected to run out of groundwater this year.

Of the existing potable water solutions, reverse osmosis removes essential minerals from the water, he says referring to a WHO finding; it also discards about two-thirds of the input water as a concentrated waste stream. Desalination systems, which have been installed on some seafronts, dump brine back into the sea, which severely damaging biodiversity.

India’s warmer climate causes more water to evaporate from land as well as oceans, further reducing the availability of fresh water; but the ray of hope is that this puts more water in the atmosphere. Research indicates that for every 1 degree of warming, the air contains about 7 per cent more water vapour. The atmosphere already contains 37.5 million billion gallons of water, and this moisture is bound to increase due to increased evaporation caused by global warming.

Enter the sustainable solution, generating pure water from the atmosphere! This, Ramkrishna points out, is a perennial source to cater to the growing needs of mankind. The technology for it already existed, but was rejected as it was too far ahead of its time.

Maithri Aquatech, which he set up under the ‘Make In India’ initiative, has developed and perfected the technology of harvesting this resource by drawing in the moisture-laden air, filtering it and passing it through a cooling chamber to forming water.

This water is then passed through multi-level filtration and then fortified with essential minerals which are necessary for human consumption meeting WHO (World Health Organisation) as well as Indian Standards for drinking water using technology developed at the IICT (Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad).

The company has signed an MOU with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) to jointly manufacture MEGHDOOT AWGs for supply to all defence (army, airforce, navy), strategic and export markets.

Maithri’s machine, Meghdoot, has been approved by the Mashelkar Committee of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, as well as EPTRI (Environment Protection Training and Research Institute, Hyderabad) as being environmentally friendly as it doesn’t depend on any water resource or generate any waste. It’s set to live up to its name of ‘messenger from the clouds’.


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