Publish Date: March 15, 2023

Australian Prime Minister Witnesses State-of-the-Art Technologies Developed by IIT Delhi.

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New Delhi: The honourable Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Anthony Albanese, witnessed some of the state-of-the-art technologies developed by the IIT Delhi scientists during his visit to the institute on Friday.

The following technologies were showcased during the Australian PM’s visit:

  • Robotic Exoskeleton Device for Upper Limb Rehabilitation
  • Smart Solutions for Building Energy Management
  • Lignocellulosic Biomass Valorisation for Sustainable Biorefineries
  • Vanadium Redox Flow Battery

Details of the technologies displayed today:

1. Robotic Exoskeleton Device for Upper Limb Rehabilitation

Stroke is a debilitating disease that severely impacts brain functions of the patient, making him/her paralytic for the rest of the life. Conventional rehabilitation therapy involves physiotherapy, which is a labour-intensive and highly subjective procedure. Robotic devices offer an innovative way of rehabilitation by applying advanced technology to facilitate faster recovery. However, these devices are usually very large requiring big space in facilities and are highly expensive. To address these challenges, IIT Delhi researchers Prof. Amit Mehndiratta and Dr. Neha Singh, Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, have developed, with financial support from SERB, Ministry of Defence and ICMR, a human-computer interface hand-exoskeleton that focuses on synchronizing joints of wrist and finger movements to improve daily activities and reduce muscle rigidity. The exoskeleton has sensors that allow the user to control it using their own muscle activity. The settings on the exoskeleton can be tailored to individual patient needs. The device is equipped with real-time performance feedback, that keeps the patient engaged and motivated throughout the therapy session. The device is low-cost, lightweight, portable, and easy to manufacture and maintain in regions with limited resources. The device can cater to the requirements of a large cohort of patient population with a variety of symptoms. Device has been already evaluated for its benefits on more than Fifty patients in the Department of Neurology, AIIMS. The studies by the IIT Delhi researchers have demonstrated significant improvements in the ability of patients to move their wrist and hand, as well as reduced muscle rigidity. These evidences suggest that exoskeleton-based therapy is the future of rehabilitation and can be very effective in improving life of patients with paralysis.

2. Smart Solutions for Building Energy Management

The focus is on the development of low-cost solutions for efficient energy management in buildings. It can help in energy savings by controlling loads based on various attributes such as occupancy, user comfort, inside and ambient temperature, etc. Solar photovoltaic generation, batteries, and electric vehicles can help reduce the amount of power purchased by a building from the utility. The developed solution for building energy management, including demand-side management, can facilitate it. As the cost of the developed solutions is low and they don't need to change any existing devices, they are more suitable for adaptation. The work has led to three patent applications and many research publications. Four PhD students have completed their work on the above project. One of the developed solutions is in the advanced stages of technology transfer to an in-house IIT Delhi startup for further demonstration. The team for this project was led by Prof. B.K. Panigrahi, Center for Automotive Research and Tribology (CART), and Prof. Ashu Verma, Department of Energy Science and Engineering, IIT Delhi.

 3. Lignocellulosic Biomass Valorisation for Sustainable Biorefineries

With a devastating pandemic lasting over two years, followed by a conflict with the world's greatest exporter of fossil resources, this has undoubtedly resulted in a global energy crisis, raising demand for alternate transportation fuel. Furthermore, for a developing country like India, ensuring energy security and transitioning to a flourishing low-carbon economy is crucial. Blending locally generated ethanol with gasoline can help India improve its energy security, allow local businesses and farmers to participate in the energy economy, and reduce hazardous emissions.  In 2018, the Government of India issued the National Policy on Biofuels, which set an aspirational goal of 20% ethanol blending in petrol by 2030 via the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Program. This research therefore intends to create a cost-effective, ecologically friendly technique to use the sugar industry waste product, sugarcane bagasse, to manufacture second generation bioethanol, based on the concept of "waste to wealth" and for overcoming sustainability and environmental concerns. In this study, the researchers investigated the impact of several green solvents on process efficiency and produced innovative solvents for effective bioconversion of sugarcane bagasse. Furthermore, they conducted a complete analysis to reduce process time and energy consumption, as well as a comparative assessment of integrated conversion processes for several kinds of Indian and Australian sugarcane. The most exciting aspect of the research is the widespread and real-world applicability of the work, with two prestigious institutes, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and University of Queensland, Australia, collaborating to solve global energy problems. “With their expertise in chemical engineering and agricultural technology, my supervisors, Prof. K. K. Pant from IIT Delhi and Prof. Robert Henry from the University of Queensland, have guided me to propose an eco-friendly solution for large-scale sustainable biorefinery applications,” said Vallari R. Chourasia, PhD Research Scholar, University of Queensland-IIT Delhi Joint PhD Program.

4. Vanadium Redox Flow Battery

The energy generated from renewable sources often requires an intermediate energy storage system (ESS) to level the output fluctuations due to the intermittent nature of these sources. Out of all the available ESS technologies, vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) has been emerging as one of the most successful candidates, which can last for more than 20 years, possesses decoupled energy and power capacity, very low-maintenance, no potential fire-hazard risk, green, and safe for the environment. The team led by Prof. Anil Verma is working to furnish VRFB to a product-level technology along with Prof. S. K. Pramanick. Prof. Anil Verma initiated R&D on VRFB, focusing on lab-scale fundamental studies. While gaining significant know-how around the technology, the team filed its first patent in 2017. Further, the first working prototype of 6W power rating was developed and demonstrated in 2019. Later, the team developed a scaled-up prototype of 0.5 kW which is also being used to power the charging kiosk facility installed at Wind-T, IIT Delhi. The team has also demonstrated its technology at various exhibition events such as NITI-Aayog’s AIM-PRIME event 2022, IIT R&D Fair 2022 and IIT Delhi’s Industry Day 2022. The team has tried to cover every aspect of the VRFB technology including the material aspect (electrolyte, electrode, bipolar plates, membrane), the scale-up aspect (industrial design, containerization, maintenance techniques) as well as the development of dedicated IoT based power electronics setup. The team’s translational work has generated 6 IP around the VRFB technology and has published 7 high impact research articles in international journals. The team has won various awards including FITT-FIRE Award 2021 for developing VRFB based charging station of e-Vehicles in the IIT Delhi campus, DST’s NICA 2020 (National Innovation Challenge Awards) funding for rural electrification. Currently, the team is working on kW scale VRFB setup to be installed at Transport Unit, IIT Delhi for providing a charging facility for the e-Vehicles plying in the campus. The Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) is an upcoming energy storage technology that can be integrated with any renewable energy source such as solar farms, which can be charged by the excess power during the day-time and can be discharged during the night-time.  The flow battery utilizes the different oxidation states of vanadium ions to store and deliver charge. The electrolyte containing different vanadium metal ions dissolved in dilute sulfuric acid are stored externally in electrolyte tanks (kWh), viz. negative and positive tanks, which are pumped in a closed-circuit to an electrochemical reactor called the stack (kW) to store and receive the electrical energy during charging and discharging, respectively (fig.1). Figure 2 shows a working prototype of the flow battery.

Fig.1: Working principle of the flow battery

Fig. 2: Developed prototype of the flow battery


Press Release issued on: 10-03-2023