These 20-something students won a national innovation challenge with their water turbine that doesn’t need a dam!

Team Aqua from Army Institute of Technology, Pune carried off Rs 10 lakh as the first prize of the KPIT Sparkle 2019, a national innovation and design challenge with their 24% more effective water turbine. We got talking to them to understand how they achieved this feat.

The winners of its annual national design and development innovation contest KPIT Sparkle 2019 were announced late February and Team Aqua from Army Institute of Technology, Pune, won the platinum award of Rs 10 lakhs for developing a vertical axis water turbine which is 24% more efficient than a conventional system and doesn’t even need a dam to work.

This year’s design competition received more than 2000 ideas from around 22,000 engineering and science students across India.

KPIT Sparkle aims at fostering innovation among students by providing them with an opportunity to imagine, ideate and develop innovations with a high social impact on sustainability. In the last five years, KPIT Sparkle has received nearly 6000 ideas from more than 50,000 students nationally.

The top 30 teams presented the working prototypes of their solutions at the grand finale this year held on February 23-24, 2019 at the Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering (PCCOE).

India Today Education got talking to the winning team from Army Institute of Technology comprising 21-year-old Shivam Mishra and 23-year-old Sachin Dwivedi to understand what makes their innovative minds tick.

What makes their water turbine unique?

One of the biggest problems with water turbines is that they need a dam for energy production. This means that the whole setup is a very expensive process. Thus, there is a need in the market to come up with a process that can replace conventional dams used to generate hydroelectric power.

Small scale water turbines are not used in India because there is no good design for small scale energy production using this method. But the Vertical Axis Waters Turbine (VAWT) created by the winning duo is a simply constructed device that gives a really good energy output. It has the potential to transform energy production in India using water.

Here’s what makes the water turbine unique as per Team Aqua’s project statement:

The water turbine with its new design can be used both in small and large scale energy production

The best thing in the proposed design is that it does not need any dam for the setup

It is a water turbine used to trap energy from the surface of the water flow irrespective of the flow of the water stream

Thus, direction of water flow doesn’t matter in this water turbine design which is a huge positive factor

The main problem with surface water turbines is that they cannot be adjusted according to the varying water level, but this design also has a mechanism to change the water turbine height as required

The water turbine can be used under bridges, and on rivers, seas or oceans

Why did they take part in the innovation challenge?

When the duo from Army Institute heard about the KPIT Sparkle design and innovation competition, they knew this was a great platform to showcase their idea and get feedback from the judges. The incubation opportunities which could help their device take off in the market was also an added perk.

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